|Havana New Restaurant Insurance|
Cuban President Raúl and Fidel Castro want the recent opening of small businesses to raise Cuba’s poor economy and absorb the workers he says will eventually be fired. He also wants Havana Insurance for all Cuban Business to protect the workers and Foreign and Cuban tourists.
Cuba’s fast growing micro-entrepreneurs – over 500,000 have registered for new Cuban business licenses as of Jan 1st 2012, Many lack insurance and everything that most start-ups need, from location, skills to money. Will they ever really get off the succeed?
A restaurant in Havana’s colonial historic centre – which opened in 2012, is appropriately called “La Moneda Cubana”, the Cuban money, and is run by jose Perez, a 40-year old entrepreneur who has some answers.
First, the premises. The three-storey restaurant, which once belonged to Jose father, was nationalised by fidel Castro. What a location it enjoys: La Moneda Cubana lies just a few steps from the Old Havana cathedral, has a sweeping view of the Havana bay from its roof terrace, and enjoys a regular stream of tourists. Few are so fortunate. Indeed, the process of leasing state properties remains incipient.
Second, No Skills that Jose who worked for several years in the state tourist sector, first at the Cuban Resturant La"Floridita", where Ernest Hemmingway once drank daiquiris; then in the kitchens of the nearby Hotel Sevilla. “I learnt there everything I needed to run my kitchen,” Ángel told beyondbrics.
However, similar backward linkages are rarer elsewhere. “A famous Cuban restaurant also needs a good manager and an sharp penny pinching accountant,” he adds. Such skills are hard to come by in Cuba’s Soviet-style economy, the business skills training program the Catholic church set up last year.
Third, No Money =No Profits! The thinking is that Cubans turn to their Miami relatives for start-up capital. This is entirely legal under Fidel & Rual Castro’s new rule and better still its is encouraged.
The informality that Cubans developed over decades socialism remain deeply engrained.
Jose, for example, insists he restored his property building “all with my own money”.
Jose also says his operation is now self-financing. La Moneda Cubana’s business suggests this may indeed be so. That is just as well, as the notion of Cuba’s old banking system offering credit is entirely novel – although there is government talk it will do so.
Cubans can now Legally buy construction materials directly from the state. As for food, Jose still buys from the Cuban state rather than private farmers. “They can’t ensure a steady and reliable supply,” he says.
Over 100 Cuba food contracts have been signed between private farmers and state-run hotels – a huge change that will strip out the inefficient state-distribution system. Che Guevera must be watching from above to protect the Cuban revolution he fought so hard to build.
|Image via Wikipedia|
Cuba’s growing small business sector is still fragile and Jose and other cubans small success will surely be repeated everywhere. Business generally remains very fragile. Most entrepreneurs sell out of their homes, or from makeshift street stalls. Havana is far from becoming a neon-wrapped landscape.
The Cubans are extrily supportive aof the popularity of the reforms and Castro’s mantra that they will be implemented “slowly, but without pause” also means they are irreversible. Ahead of the Communist Party’s conference over the weekend, even state newspaper Granma talked of the need “to leave behind prejudices against the non-state sector” and to overcome the “psychological barrier” of “obsolete dogmas”.
One of these is work habits. Jose for one, has already turned on its head the old socialist mantra of “everyone pretends to work and the state pretends to pay.” Compared to state wages worth around $15 CUC a month but paid in Cuban pesos, his staff get a percentage of profits in hard currency. “They like that, very much,” he says.
As for Jose Perez workday: he says that he will make it there early in the morning and usually leave around 4 am every day. Does he mind that hard work? Not at all. Cuban like hard work but the Havana Insurance is what I really need to make it secure. You have to do what one has to or wants to do – and I do. This is as much an emotional risk but I like it very much. Cuba is getting better every day for Insurance and investment.