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Articles, Opinions and Papers

November 2014
For almost two decades, I have watched entrepreneurship explode across Latin America and the Caribbean, empowering citizens, transforming economies and changing lives. In sectors ranging from restaurants and small manufacturing to high tech, entrepreneurs are changing the economic and social landscape of the region. Perhaps most important, they are also generating jobs. Across the region, 60 percent of employees work for businesses with five or fewer employees. In Mexico, 72 percent of employment comes from micro-, small- and medium-size businesses. In Brazil, small enterprises create two out of every three jobs.
Nov 13 (Reuters) - They have already earned a place in the firmament of the world's best chefs. Now Basque chef Andoni Luis Aduriz and Mexico's Enrique Olvera have set their sights on one of the world's toughest markets: communist-run Cuba. The island has seen a restaurant boom in recent years, fed by market-style reforms enacted under President Raul Castro, though ingredients can be scarce.
In an attempt to jumpstart Cuba's economy and shed unprofitable state enterprises, the government is converting select businesses into cooperatives. It's an adjustment for many Cuban workers.
HAVANA-Cuba asked international companies on Monday to invest more than $8 billion in the island as it attempts to kick-start a centrally planned economy starved for cash and hamstrung by inefficiency.
Foreign Commerce Minister Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz announced a list of 246 potential projects that would cost $8.7 billion to build, from a pig farm to an auto plant. The menu of possible investments is a key step in a push for foreign capital that includes the relaxation of investment restrictions and the creation of a special trade zone around a new deep-water port west of Havana.
October 2014

How Business Can Change Cuba

October 17, 2014

Yamina Vicente has lived in communist Cuba her whole life. But it didn’t take her long to learn one of capitalism’s handier skills: creating market demand. Baby showers were practically unheard of in Cuba until last year, when Vicente started an event planning company called Decorazón. She learned about the gift-giving parties from American women visiting Cuba, then persuaded some of her clients in Havana to throw their own.
Cuba’s plan to replace the 20-year-old dual-currency system with a single, unified peso currency is a critical task in the process of preparing the economy for the global market, the country’s central bank chief said.
September 2014
(Reuters) - Cuba offered to free jailed Canadian executive Cy Tokmakjian in return for $55 million and company assets, his company said on Monday, but the deal fell through because the firm didn't have the money and the businessman wanted to clear his name.
HAVANA (AP) — Cuba's state-run tourism industry is increasingly doing business with the country's new class of private entrepreneurs, trying to improve quality of food and lodging while maintaining a grip on the sector's biggest sources of foreign exchange.
A Miami-based publication says it is launching a new effort to measure Cuba’s economic pulse. The Cuba Standard Economic Trend Index, compiled by a team of Cuba-born economists, will offer a monthly outlook on Cuba’s economy by using an “independent measurement,” according to a statement released last week.
The Cuban Domestic Trade department put the number eateries being privatized at 9,000 -- compared with 1,261 private family-run restaurants already operating. The state will still own the land the restaurants sit on.
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