Reinaldo Writes about New Businesses in Cuba

[Reinaldo – Age – 50’s; Birthplace – Countryside near Bayamo, Cuba; Residence – Havana, Cuba; Occupation – Lives with Wife; Operator of a Casa Particular]

Hola, Franklin,

[via regular mail – translated]

I understand you are coming to Havana to visit us. And you have asked me questions about our citizens’ new ventures into independent businesses.

Yes, things have changed somewhat since your last visit. There is definitely more business being carried on by individuals. You know that I have owned and operating this casa particular for a number of years, and nothing has changed for us.

But the number of nicer restaurants has grown. I have some acquaintances who have made the effort. It is certainly not easy. They have to obtain a permit. And the government watches very closely. Since I only serve breakfast, I do not have knowledge as to how the new restaurants obtain their products and whether the quality is any better than before.

However, it’s only been a few months since some establishments were shut down for serving food products available only on the black market. The higher end paladares, which the Americans and some Europeans favor, which are said to serve delicious steaks, lobster, etc. must have some special disposition from the government to be able to obtain such products. Perhaps they bribe. Perhaps they have connections.

I am probably more in the dark than you, since I do not have the Internet, free newspapers, or anything other than whispered gossip to learn the truth.

But it seems like we are quietly moving a little towards your type of capitalist society, yet in the name of socialism --- what an odd dichotomy --- not unlike our entire lives.

We will see you when you arrive.

Reinaldo

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