Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cutting Communism - One Head at a Time

Cuba continues to be in the news. It appears that Raul Castro understands the pitfalls of communism more than his brother. First, Raul lifted restrictions on Cuban farmers, now he is letting Cuban barbershops work for profit.


Can the U.S. re-learn the benefits of a free market from Cuba? Or will the lessons learned there fall on deaf ears?

Why does the media portray capitalism as evil in free societies, yet celebrate when communist countries turn capitalistic?


By Michael Voss BBC News, Havana

Cuba is turning over hundreds of state-run barber shops and beauty salons to employees in what may be the start of a long-expected privatisation drive.

All barbers and hairdressers in shops with three seats or fewer will be allowed to rent the space and pay taxes instead of getting a monthly wage.

The retail sector has long been derided for poor service and rampant theft.

The country's former President, Fidel Castro, nationalised all small businesses in 1968.

'Slow and cautious'

Now his younger brother and successor Raul Castro is trying to modernise the system without jumping to full-scale capitalism.

Other communist countries such as China and Vietnam have long since pushed through market reforms while maintaining political control.

President Castro's first economic reforms involved giving unproductive state-owned land to private farmers.

Some taxi drivers are allowed to work for themselves.

This is his first attempt to deal with shops in the retail and service sector.

It is likely to be a gradual process, though.

These beauty salon changes have not been officially announced or mentioned in the state-controlled press.

In a recent speech to the Young Communist League, Raul Castro acknowledged that people were impatient for change but warned that he planned to move slowly and cautiously.

See the BBC Video here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Isn't this a plot line in one of the Hitch Hikers Guide series? :))