Cuba Has Over 400,000 Self-employed
June 25, 2013
By Café Fuerte
HAVANA TIMES – A total of 429,458 Cubans are registered as self-employed
in the 181 activities authorized by the government of Raul Castro since
late 2010, according to official statistics.
According to data released by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security,
the figure of persons working in the private sector in Cuba was issued
at the end of May, which marks an increase of more than 30,000 over last
The report notes that self-employment has increased most in the
provinces of Havana, Matanzas, Camaguey, Holguin and Santiago de Cuba,
which together account for 64 percent of the registered business and new
land owners and their laborers.
The largest single group falls in the category of workers hired as labor
by private business owners, accounting for 18 percent of all private
employment. A total of 83 of the permitted work activities permit the
hiring of waged labor.
Slow growth in private sector
In second place are licenses for the preparation and sale of food
products, followed by transporters of cargo and passengers; rental
housing; street vendors of agricultural products, and producers and
sellers of household items.
Nearly 70 percent of the self-employed had no previous employment
relationship, and 14 percent were retired, which are not very
encouraging indicators for the structural changes and layoffs of
government employees projected by Raul Castro.
The government wants to eliminate a million and a half state jobs within
five years, assuming the gradual transition to private work forms for
those laid off. After almost three years, self-employment covers only a
third of the expectations created by the so-called "labor rearrangement".
The government has sought to stimulate private activity with leasing
local barber shops and restaurants, the granting of loans for investment
and the provision of state land in usufruct to some 176,000 Cubans.
Illegals under scrutiny
The theme of self-employment and "illegal variants" has become
obligatory point in the preparatory meetings of the upcoming Twentieth
Congress of the Cuban Labor Federation (CTC) taking place throughout the
In a union conference held in Santiago de Cuba last week,
representatives of a committee of light food processors-sellers
denounced the proliferation of unauthorized vendors, which represent
unfair competition for those registered.
"It is easier to be illegal, they pay a fine of 250 pesos if they get
caught, while we pay a patent for almost 500 pesos," said Herminia Casas
of Santiago de Cuba.
At the union meeting, Salvador Valdes Mesa, vice president of the State
Council, said there is "no reason" for anybody to exercise private
Source: "Self employment continues to increase in Cuba during 2013." -