Cuba Business

A good article about Cuba’s “atypical” economy from inside Cuba

Posted April 30, 2008 by publisher in Cuba Business.

By Circles Robinson

Cuba’s economy is not easy to understand, especially for those that have never lived under a similar system where government plays a lead role. To begin with, it doesn’t go by the usual market codes of supply and demand and corporate profit isn’t its driving force.

Coming from North America or Europe to a typical Cuban urban neighborhood, the visitor’s first impression might be one of poverty: crumbling or poorly maintained buildings, pot-holed streets, ancient cars, homes where there are few “extras” etc.

On the other hand, if you arrive from Latin America or another developing country, other aspects of Cuban life might get your attention: no street kids, no malnourished faces, no beggars and people walking the streets at night with almost no fear.

In fact, in the more than six years living in Havana, I have yet to see ONE working child, an astounding contrast to other Latin American countries where I witnessed the daily parade of hungry kids scrambling to shine shoes or hawk a host of products at markets and traffic lights, in parks and door-to-door. Many are glue snuffers before they become teenagers.

Simply speaking, that doesn’t happen in Cuba, and that difference alone should make anyone think twice before buying into the corporate media’s image of Cuba as a country of acutely deprived people.

Yet, technically speaking, the foreign news stories are correct when they talk about salaries in that are the equivalent of US $10-30 a month.

Rich in some ways, poor in others, Cuba has insisted in running its economy on a different model.



Member Comments

On May 04, 2008, Shagun Bhardwaj wrote:

With the recent change the the economic policies in cuba under the new ruler,rether say the reforms in the economic policies is ther any kind of business that you think is rising in the market.Any king of import or export,domestic supplies,etc.

Please do reply at my e-mail.

On May 26, 2008, ERIC,NYC wrote:

That does not mean that the country needs to continue to collapse…..Cuba can be a model for other countries and be beautiful….and rich .

On August 23, 2009, Really? wrote:

Articles like this really frustrate me. Talk to some people that really had to live through that, like my parents. I STILL have family over there and you aren’t allowed to say a word against the government without being put in a political prison.

My grandma’s dying cause she can’t get medicine, so my dad has to send it over to her by mail.
I doubt she even gets it.

Don’t be fooled. Castro’s Cuba is a prison, and not even the people there are allowed to tell you how much they suffer, because they are afraid of being arrested.

Hell, I remember my mother told me the police came over to their house to question my grandmother about ILLEGALLY PURCHASED MEAT.
I’m not even kidding you. My family almost got in trouble for trying to feed themselves.
I seriously mean it when I say to talk to some Cuban exiles. They’ll tell you what really goes down under that system, and it’s not pretty.

On August 24, 2009, manfredz wrote:

I dont think what you describe reflects the current Cuba.
I’m not kidding myself - Its a dictatorship, has severe shortages and you can find yourself in serious trouble, including jail time, if you cross lines.
But ..
You will find people being critical of the system now and meat and other produce can now be legally bought in open markets (for CUP).

If you can, why not take a trip down to see for yourself.

On August 24, 2009, Eric wrote:

I know it’s just getting worse…..I must have been in a “my cup runeth over” mood of wild optimism.
I would love to go but I know ,as always,I will come back needing Valium and Effexor.