While acknowledging Cuba’s social service achievements, a regional United Nations economics commission is recommending in a new report released Friday that the communist nation allow more private enterprise.
The recommendations by the U.N. Economics Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean come as Cuba moves in the opposite direction, reasserting control over an already centralized economy and slowly closing more access to the limited private enterprise now allowed.
The report, “Social Policy and Structural Reforms: Cuba at the Beginning of the 21st Century,” was presented Friday at a Havana hotel with U.N. commission members and Cuban officials in attendance, including Economics Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez.
“It would be pertinent in the coming years to redesign the parameters of competition in the public, private and cooperative sectors, to redefine the role of the state in the economy,” the report states.
It suggested that Cuba could continue to maintain control over economic strategy while opening up to “diversification in relations of property, the decentralization of business activity and the role of the market.”
“It also would be good to be more flexible in the regulations concerning private activities and self-employment,” the report said.
At the same time, the report noted Cuba’s efforts to ensure social services such as health care and education for its citizens.
Cuba only reluctantly legalized a limited amount of private employment in 1993, calling it a necessary evil to provide jobs and services during an economic crisis caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union.
In recent months, the government has reasserted control over the economy and in October plans to stop issuing new licenses for 40 categories of private employment legalized more than a decade ago.