Private Enterprise

(The Home Hair Salon)

It’s been a long time since the Castro’s have called together a Congress for the Communist Ruling party. 13 years to be exact. Normally these gatherings were organized every 5 years… but lots of great excuses came up — Fidel retired. He got sick. The government was turning over. Could it be the hurricanes? Who knows. There is one thing we can be sure is coming however — 500,000 layoffs in a country where the State is supposed to provide the necessary goods.

So finally, Raul announced it’s time for the Congress to pow-wow in April 2011.

The layoff announcements also came with a new speech to start encouraging more Cubans to get entrepreneurial (up to a limit) and form co-operatives. It’s like saying “here ya go, run free, and go make your own money, but keep this leash around your neck, and don’t make too much money”.

The Economist shares exact guidelines from the 32-page booklet released this week by the congress who says they plan to approve new “guidelines for socio-economic policy”. What does that mean? The article quotes:

“Cubans can now legally work for themselves as a clown, a button sewer or a fancy-dress dancer (in the costume of a 1940s Cuban crooner, Beny Moré, the list bizarrely specifies). Repairing furniture is allowed; selling it is not. But the list also includes more conventional trades such as building and plumbing. State media have stressed that self-employment should from now on be considered an acceptable way of life, and those that choose it will no longer be ‘stigmatised’.”

Where’s Fidel throughout all this? He’s ducked out the backdoor. No longer focusing on domestic affairs, the architect of the Revolution is writing long winded essays in the State newspaper about nuclear warfare in Iran. Thanks Fidel.

(Paying Bills on $15-20 a Month in a 2-Tiered Economy. Local Peso vs Dollar.)

It’s all one bizarre game of un-training what everyone has been told. The State has your back. Wait, now the State can’t get your back. In fact, learn to be an entrepreneur, even though it was illegal in your lifetime. Get creative with your hustle, but here’s a big book of rules, so don’t get too rich.

It’s not necessarily what I call real reform, but slow change is better than no change. Plus self-empowerment is the only empowerment. To the locals on the island, this confusing paradigm shift is going to get worse before it gets better. The ride of the Revolution is going to get real interesting now.

Read the rest of the article here: The Economist: Trying to Make The Sums Add Up.

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