Cuban Communists to Fire Half a Million Workers, But Will Allow Them to Become Piñata Salesmen

CubanStateStreetSweeperInHavana2010-10-01.jpg“A Cuban State worker (center) sweeps the streets in Havana.” Source of caption and photo: online version of the WSJ article quoted and cited below.

(p. A1) Cuba will lay off more than half a million state workers and try to create hundreds of thousands of private-sector jobs, a dramatic attempt by the hemisphere’s only Communist country to shift its nearly bankrupt economy toward a more market-oriented system.

The mass layoffs will take place between now and the end of March, according to a statement issued Monday by the Cuban Workers Federation, the island nation’s only official labor union. Workers will be encouraged to find jobs in Cuba’s tiny private sector instead.
“Our state can’t keep maintaining…bloated payrolls,” the union’s statement said. More than 85% of Cuba’s 5.5 million workers are employed by the state.
. . .
(p. A15) Cubans who decide to go into business for themselves will find a series of obstacles, including very high taxes, lack of access to credit and foreign exchange, bans on advertising, limits on the number of people they can hire, and a litany of small-print government regulations, experts say.
Cuba’s government has a list of 124 “authorized” activities for people who want to employ themselves. Among them: Toy repairman, music teacher, piñata salesman and carpenter. Carpenters are allowed only to “repair existing furniture or make new furniture upon the direct request of a customer.” They cannot make “furniture to sell to the general public.”

For the full story, see:
José de Córdoba and Nicholas Casey. “Cuba Unveils Huge Layoffs in Tilt Toward Free Market.” The Wall Street Journal (Tues., SEPTEMBER 14, 2010): A1 & A15.
(Note: ellipsis added between paragraphs; ellipsis internal to paragraph was in original.)
(Note: the online version of the article has the title “Cuba to Cut State Jobs in Tilt Toward Free Market.”)

CastroPinata2010-10-01.jpg

This particular piñata model is expected to be a hot seller for the new piñata salesmen. Source of photo: http://cdn.smosh.com/smosh-pit/4/pinata-7.jpg

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