Granma, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Cuba, recently published two positive articles about the island’s “non-state economic sector,” i.e., private enterprise.
A Successful Non-Agricultural Cooperative
One article focused on the Non-Agricultural Cooperative (CNA) Illusión Salon in Havana, which has been in business for several decades, but last November became one of around 200 CNAs in the capitol city.
Since then the Salon’s appearance and condition have been improved, and it has gained many new customers from all over the city. Its president said, “The best thing is that we are no longer obliged to work with the resources they assign to us, but with supplies we are able to get hold of. Now we decide from whom and where we buy.”
Its accountant observed that before the change to CNA, the top earner would make about 500 Cuban pesos (CUP), while today the average is closer to 1,300 or 1,400 CUP. Workers were suddenly motivated, but they sometimes express irritation over the high tax rates, and we hope that this will change.”
At the end of each month, the salon tallies up its accounts, pays off any debts, deducts costs and utility payments, sets aside about 30% and then divides the remaining 70% among the employees in accordance with their work.
Training Courses for Cubans in Non-State Sector
The other article announced that the government was developing new training courses to assist citizens who would be joining the non-state sector.
The new courses will cover taxes, communication law, economics, marketing, e-commerce and Information Technology and Communications. Other possible new courses include production of organic fertilizer, vegetables and ornamental plants; agricultural law; and agricultural units of measurement. These new courses will join previously established ones for civil construction, urban and suburban agriculture, masonry and basic accounting and finance.
These are additional indicators of the Cuban regime’s recognition of the need to have private enterprise on the island and its promotion of that sector, both of which were highlighted in Raúl Castro’s report to the recent Party Congress as covered in a prior post. Maybe the new laws to create legal status for small and medium-sized businesses will not be as long delayed as another prior post suggested.
 Gonzalez, A successful beauty cooperative, Granma (May 31, 2016); Guerrero, New training courses for workers in the non-state sector, Granma (May 31, 2016).