By Jack Kimball of Reuters
Cuba will allow private advertisements in the state-run phone directory for the first time in half a century, state media reported on Thursday, in the latest move to a more open economy.
President Raul Castro is pushing through a range of reforms in an attempt to strengthen Cuba’s struggling Soviet-style economy by encouraging more private initiative and reducing the role and size of the state in some sectors.
The move to allow some private ads is unprecedented in a country where political banners replaced commercial advertising after Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution.
Communist Party newspaper Granma said private service providers such as cafes, restaurants and barbershops would be able to promote their businesses in the 2012 yellow pages.
“With the aim of offering people more contact information about private sector services, the Telecommunications Company of Cuba offers the inclusion of self-employed workers in the so-called Yellow Pages Telephone Directory,” Granma said.
State-run media reports the number of “people working for themselves,” often a euphemism for mom-and-pop businesses, has doubled to more than 350,000 since regulations governing private economic activity were liberalized a year ago.
The growth of the “non-state sector” is being encouraged as the cash-strapped government seeks to slash a million jobs from its payrolls.
Ads in the yellow pages will be sold for around $10 and can include photos and images taking up to one page in the book, Granma said, quoting the head of telephone directories.
——————————Havana Journal Comments——————————
As with all news in Cuba, we will have to wait for the details to know who can advertise, what they can advertise and size of advertisements. If everyone can take out a full page ad in the new yellow pages for $10, the book will be THICK with ads. What’s next, ads in Granma for Jose’s barbershop?