The current Cuban economic scenario invites new players. The search for efficiency and competitiveness goes beyond big business and traditional sectors, to summon the local entrepreneurial initiative to efficiently work. That is the way Sambacuba operates, a cooperative in formation focused on the area of recreational, cultural, sports and quality of life services.
Its name comes from an intention to approach and exchange with Brazil, exploiting the attractions of this country and its good relations with Cuba. The project includes an academy for teaching rumba and samba, a capoeira workshop, spaces for fashion, traditions and practicing cricket.
Felix Durruthy, creator of the proposal, explains that while transiting the final approval stage, it still remains to determine where its facilities shall be located. The recreation centers José Antonio Echeverría and Julio Antonio Mella are basic choices, which infrastructure will also allow having a swimming pool, spa, cafes, and volleyball, tennis and soccer fields.
Meanwhile, inserting Sambacuba in Plaza or Playa municipalities, as its final location, foresees significant contributions to local development. From the economic point of view, it could be coordinated with nearby rent houses, as another offer for guests. Durruthy also thinks it would be a variant of much interest to Brazilian residents or visiting Cuba.
Other benefits could be the generation of new jobs and higher incomes, financial contributions to territorial administration, and the constructive improvement of the location occupied.
Typical Cuban games, aerobics, and traditional cuisine place the family, especially children and elderly, as target of the enterprise. Thus, these possibilities to spend free time would come to meet latent demand in leisure and recreation.
Other interesting features are the bicycle trips in sites of historical and cultural significance in the neighborhood, environmental education and care actions, massage, art exhibitions, a reading room, crafts, an information center, and spaces for audiovisual.
The future cooperative aims to provide personalized service, with medium to high standards. Feasibility studies conducted by Sambacuba indicate that this experience can be replicated and adapted to other municipalities and provinces and even beyond the Latin American context. During a more advanced stage of the proposal it is expected to export services to Brazil, and then to other nations.
Brazil and Cuba, mestizo and dancing countries, focus of musical creation on the continent, have a cultural empathy ranging from soap operas and carnivals, until soccer and religions of African origin. In 2012 Brazil was Cuba’s sixth largest trading partner and the second one in Latin America, while currently it is the main investor in Mariel Special Development Zone.
These factors, along with the political will to promote local initiatives and new forms of management , constitute, according to Durruthy, a context of wide opportunities for Sambacuba.
The proposal was presented at the last congress of the National Association of Cuban Economists (ANEC by its Spanish acronym), and events organized by the Amigos del Pais Economic Society, the Institute of Anthropology and Africa House. At present the promotion and attraction of potential partners and investors are managed, while partnerships and supportive relationships with several institutions such as Community Initiatives Reference and Exchange Center (CIERIC by its Spanish acronym) are established.