A dynamic, independent private sector is rapidly emerging in Cuba, despite the dominance of the state-run socialist system. The private sector is quickly absorbing workers laid off from the state, enlarging its growing middle classes and defining a new Cuba. The old narrative — that Fidel and Raul Castro had to pass from the scene before real change could occur — has been discredited by these current trends.
More and more Cubans are opening bed and breakfasts, cafes and snack bars, small shops and markets, and offering services in areas such as construction and technology. But challenges in accessing capital, along with burdensome taxation, often prevent some of these operations from growing into larger firms.
It remains to be seen whether the powerful Cuba state is prepared to allow these businesses to expand and partner with state entities, creating a hybrid market socialist economy that can accelerate growth into a legitimate boom.
In Soft Landing for Cuba? Emerging Entrepreneurs and Middle Classes, Richard Feinberg provides:
• History of emerging private enterprise in Cuba
• Case studies of the challenges entrepreneurs face in launching and expanding their operations
• Recommendations on what the Cuban – and U.S. – governments can do to can cultivate a more inclusive economy, bringing prosperity to the wider population.