• Friday, May 20, 2022
  • Last Update : 04:24 pm

Cuba legalizes small and medium enterprises in boost for private sector

  • Published at 09:17 pm August 7th, 2021
Cuba Protest
A woman holds a portrait of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel during an act of revolutionary reaffirmation in Havana on July 17, 2021 AFP

In February, the government decided to open up much of the controlled economy to the fledgling private sector

The Cuban government on Friday approved a law authorizing the creation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), a major shift in the communist-ruled country where state-owned companies are the norm. 

The change comes nearly a month after thousands of Cubans flocked to the streets decrying dictatorship and complaining of hunger in the largest demonstrations since the revolution that brought the late Fidel Castro to power in 1959. 

At least one person died, and hundreds were arrested in the unusual mass protests, which the government claimed were provoked by the United States.

President Joe Biden has slapped fresh sanctions on Cuban police for suppressing the unrest, and warned of additional punitive measures if the communist regime does not address the protesters' demands for sweeping change.

In recent months the Cuban government has accelerated reforms to modernize the economy and staunch the worst economic crisis the island nation has experienced in 30 years. In part driven by US sanctions, the downtown and chronic shortages of food, electricity and medicine have been exacerbated by stringent measures against Covid-19.

In February, the government decided to open up much of the controlled economy to the fledgling private sector, except for key areas such as health, media and education. Around 2,000 activities were made available to self-employed workers. 

Roughly 600,000 Cubans are estimated to be working in the private sector, about 13 percent of the workforce. But these so-called "cuentapropistas" have called for a legal structure that would explicitly permit their businesses. 

Friday's green light for small and medium enterprises was given during a session of the State Council, which President Miguel Díaz-Canel joined via video conference. 

In June, Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz warned that the expansion of permitted private activities would not be allowed to go too far "as there are limits that cannot be exceeded."

But Oniel Díaz, a consultant specializing in Cuba's business development, said the new SMEs law still represents a turning point that many Cubans have been eagerly anticipating for years.

"For the Cuban economy... this represents a giant step that will have consequences in the medium and long term" for the reconfiguration of the national economy, he told AFP. 

Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail