Foreign Policy Blogs

Headline rundown

Source: Inside Havana

(Photo: Inside Havana)

Cuba expands its limited free-market experiment

(Los Angeles Times) Cuban barbershops and beauty salons are now joining a small but growing group of free-market entrepreneurs on the island: the government is allowing owners of these businesses to set their own prices for services rendered—according to the market, of course—and pocket their revenues, save the 15% they will pay in taxes to the state. Coming off of Raúl’s recent comment that the government has a million employees too many on its payroll (the state coffers are stretched thin in recession), this measure will to some extent help relieve a bit of the financial pressure the state is experiencing.

Cuban academic says corruption island’s big threat

(Associated Press) Esteban Morales, a Cuban historian who has written extensively on race and on Cuba’s relations with the United States, posted an opinion piece with a rare and poignant argument on the Web site of the state National Artists and Writers Union of Cuba (UNEAC): he writes, “In reality, corruption is much more dangerous than so-called internal dissent. The latter is isolated … but corruption is truly counterrevolutionary because it comes from within the government and the state apparatus, which are the ones that really control the country’s resources.” The piece can be found on the UNEAC website, which at the time of this writing was down, or here.



Melissa Lockhart Fortner
Melissa Lockhart Fortner

Melissa Lockhart Fortner is Senior External Affairs Officer at the Pacific Council on International Policy in Los Angeles, having served previously as Senior Programs Officer for the Council. From 2007-2009, she held a research position at the University of Southern California (USC) School of International Relations, where she closely followed economic and political developments in Mexico and in Cuba, and analyzed broader Latin American trends. Her research considered the rise and relative successes of Latin American multinationals (multilatinas); economic, social and political changes in Central America since the civil wars in the region; and Wal-Mart’s role in Latin America, among other topics. Melissa is a graduate of Pomona College, and currently resides in Pasadena, California, with her husband, Jeff Fortner.

Follow her on Twitter @LockhartFortner.

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