Eric Caraballoso

Eric Caraballoso

Corresponsal acreditado de OnCuba en La Habana.

Jean-Jacques Bastien, ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium in Cuba, gives the opening remarks of the Pymelab 2022 event, at the Iberostar Grand Packard Hotel, in Havana, on April 28, 2022. Photo: Otmaro Rodríguez.

Pymelab 2022: event on MSMEs in Cuba

A little over a year ago, talking about micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Cuba was still a dream. As recently as December 2020, when the first edition of the Pymelab event was held in Havana, the regulations authorizing their creation had not yet been approved, although the possibility had already been officially handled and many people, both in the private sector and in the state and academic environment, advocated for their necessary legalization and insertion in the economic fabric of the island. Sixteen months later, at the time of the second edition of the meeting — organized by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium in Cuba, the agency and the Cuban Ministry of Economy and Planning (MEP), in collaboration with the Delegation of the European Union (EU) and AUGE SRL ― the reality is different. Since the authorization of the first 35 Cuban MSMEs last September, there are already more than 3,000 of these new economic actors, most of them private (3,093), to which are added 51 state-owned, and 50 non-agricultural cooperatives (CNA), according to data updated this Thursday. Of them, 56% correspond to reconversions of pre-existing businesses, 114 are part of local development projects, while...

Photo: Otmaro Rodríguez

Havana, de-escalation and the Malecón

These days Havana is no longer like it was a few weeks ago. The beginning of a new de-escalation, with the improved epidemiological indicators in the city, has brought changes in the general panorama, but, above all, in people’s perception, divided between those who enthusiastically embrace the “flexibility” of the restrictions and those who observe the new scenario with caution and even fear. Along with the restart of table service in restaurants and cafeterias, announced a week ago, with logical limitations, the long-awaited reopening of the beaches, swimming pools, gyms and the Havana Malecón seaside walk returns in more than one aspect the Cuban capital to the previous panorama upon the arrival of the coronavirus and gives the coup de grace to an idea of ​​confinement that, in reality, never fully came into being. And the fact is that, unlike other Cuban provinces and localities, which have applied more severe strategies during the prolonged and complex wave of COVID-19 in recent months, Havana has been more flexible with the measures and closing times and it has even kept urban transportation running throughout 2021. After more than a year of reporting its first cases, and with the masks already becoming...

Cuban Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Alejandro Gil. Photo: Otmaro Rodríguez.

Alejandro Gil: “We are prepared to take advantage of any economic opening with the U.S., but it doesn’t depend on us”

The deputy prime minister and head of the island’s economy also assured in a press conference that the monetary reorganization process “has not been a failure” and said that despite the complex scenario that the island is going through, his government does not renounce an economic growth of around 6% in the current year.

Photo: Otmaro Rodríguez

Havana, between more infections and vaccinations

If someone from abroad were to walk the streets of Havana today, they would probably not be able to believe that the city is going through its most complex epidemiological situation of the entire pandemic. That every day an average of more than 600 new infections are diagnosed—more than half of those in all of Cuba—and several deaths due to COVID-19. That is not the gloomy panorama the city reflects, what people’s faces reflect. Photo: Otmaro Rodríguez Despite the dire statistics that are reported every morning, the continuous calls from the authorities and the protocols established to stop the infections, even when vaccination—by way of massive intervention—has been underway since this Wednesday, the Cuban capital is living a kind of reality limbo that seems to contradict all of the above. Although far from doing so, it reinforces it.   Photo: Otmaro Rodríguez It is an explosive cocktail that, almost miraculously, has not caused an even worse health outbreak; a scenario in which exhaustion and precariousness, the lack of risk perception and exigency, the irresponsibility of many and the indiscipline of many others, the accumulated need and stress, the spread of the most contagious strains of the coronavirus and also, why...

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