Small Businesses are Already Dominating Cuba After Recently Being Legalized

Sean Pavone /
Sean Pavone /

The communist nation of Cuba is finally starting to experience some successes. And it’s all because they have allowed baby steps toward capitalism.

As you likely know, Cuba has been known as a struggling place to live for nearly a century now – and all because of communism, which does not allow private citizens the right to dream, own other businesses, or eke out a life for themselves in any other way than the government demands.

However, with their former leader Fidel Castro firmly six feet under, some of that restrictive control has loosened, albeit very minimally.

Two years ago, the nation made it legal for citizens to become entrepreneurs, owning businesses of 100 or fewer employees.

And since then, slightly more than 8,000 businesses have been started in almost every industry imaginable. And all have been a major boon to the people and economy of Cuba.

In fact, recent reports show that these businesses now provide nearly half of all food imports to the island nation.

Who would have thought? (Insert obvious sarcasm)

As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, “These businesses are now leading importers in a country that relies on imports of everything from fuel to most of its food. Cuba’s economy minister, Alejandro Gil Fernandez, said in a report to Cuba’s Congress on the state of the economy that imports by private companies could top $1 billion this year.”

As one Cuban lawyer turned imported, Aldo Alvarez, told the Journal, “In the last two years, the private sector has been dominating commerce in Cuba to an unprecedented level. We not only have businesses, but we have the capacity to import.”

Where empty streets used to exist now sit bakeries, small grocers, beauty salons, restaurants, and even gyms. Naturally, people from all walks of life are beginning to actually thrive.

To be sure, Cuba still restricts how much wealth business owners can make and land they can own. But success is being visually seen.

Of course, that might just be enough of a threat for it all to be shut down if history tells us anything.