The MasterBlog: In Cuba, capitalism thrives on Craigslist-like sites | beyondbrics
Subscribe to The MasterBlog in a Reader Subscribe to The MasterBlog by Email

MasterBlogs Headlines

Thursday, August 4, 2011

In Cuba, capitalism thrives on Craigslist-like sites | beyondbrics

From the FT's beyondbrics blog, this piece on the development of trading/bartering internet sites in Cuba

In Cuba, capitalism thrives on Craigslist-like sites

Even as the Cuban president, Raúl Castro, fumes over stumbling blocks placed by his own party bureaucracy to economic reforms, the internet is beginning to remove them one by one.
Castro appears to be meeting resistance from communist diehards – or more likely old-fashioned stick-in-the-muds – to his proposals that would allow private ownership in homes and cars, for example, on the Communist island.
That simply is not a problem for a handful of internet sites that are, in effect, putting the reforms into practice.
One site,, has been operating for some years, apparently from a base in Miami, and seems to be tolerated by the Cuban government. The site is based on the “permuta”, or “swap”, system.

All housing in Cuba is state-owned but swaps are allowed, as long as no money is exchanged. It has been an open secret for years in Havana, however, that often large sums have changed hands under the permuta system.
By allowing home ownership, Castro’s reforms will in effect legalise the black market in housing. But has been quoting prices for years.
When beyondbrics checked out, several of its features were unavailable because of “database errors”, whatever they might be. But some users’ comments were interesting.
One woman wrote that it was a wonderful site and “something I never imagined that ever existed in Cuba”. Where might she have been all those years?
Another pointed to the reality of any internet project in Cuba: access to the population is very restricted. “It’s really difficult to find someone where I work who has internet access and lets people like me get into the site,” wrote one.
Yet another reflected the absence, through unfamiliarity, of market tools that are normal in other countries but not in Cuba. “In Cuba we don’t seem to understand that ads for apartments should specify their size in floor space,” one cybernaut wrote.
“There are ads with five-bedroom apartments that turn out to have only 100 square meters. These must be just cubby holes, not bedrooms,” he or she snorted. “And there are other apartments of 200 square meters with only two bedrooms. Now that is really spacious but you wouldn’t know the difference from the ads.”
However, is tame by comparison with, the market leader in every sense of the word. In Cuban Spanish a “revolico” is a bit of a mess. The anonymous organisers of the website admit that it is a mess, “but an organized mess”.

Revolico, which is also based in Miami and has frequently been blocked in Cuba, offers a market in everything from homes, cars, casual sexual encounters, language classes … you name it.
Most of what is on offer is not legal – not yet anyway – though some is tolerated. A photo of a $30 a night apartment on offer to foreigners in central Havana gives a glimpse of a comfortable lifestyle not shared by the Cubans whose rather spartan homes a beyondbrics correspondent visited on his last trip to the island.
Meanwhile, Raúl Castro appears to be exasperated at the internal opposition to his reforms. In a televised speech on Monday, after days of confabs with party and government leaders, he berated the “psychological barrier to change that is created by inertia”.
And he added: “Not for the first time, I’d say that our worst enemy isn’t imperialism, much less those who get paid within Cuba by the imperialists to do their work for them. The worst enemy is failing to correct our very own errors.”
Maybe Castro could click on a couple of links to see how it’s done. Or maybe he already has.
Related reading:Come get your MBA in…Cuba?, beyondbrics
Cuba libre?, FT
Ageing Cuban leadership seeks new blood, FT
In depth: Raúl’s Cuba
, FT

In Cuba, capitalism thrives on Craigslist-like sites | beyondbrics | News and views on emerging markets from the Financial Times –

Share this|
________________________ The MasterBlog

No comments:

Post a Comment

Commented on The MasterBlog

Tags, Categories

news United States Venezuela Finance Money Latin America Oil Current Affairs Middle East Commodities Capitalism Chavez International Relations Israel Gold Economics NT Democracy China Politics Credit Hedge Funds Banks Europe Metals Asia Palestinians Miscellaneous Stocks Dollar Mining ForEx Corruption obama Iran UK Terrorism Africa Demographics UN Government Living Bailout Military Russia Debt Tech Islam Switzerland Philosophy Judaica Science Housing PDVSA Revolution USA War petroleo Scams articles Fed Education France Canada Security Travel central_banks OPEC Castro Nuclear freedom Colombia EU Energy Mining Stocks Diplomacy bonds India drugs Anti-Semitism Arabs populism Saudi Arabia Brazil Environment Irak Syria elections Art Cuba Food Goldman Sachs Afghanistan Anti-Israel Hamas Lebanon Silver Trade copper Egypt Hizbollah Madoff Ponzi Warren Buffett press Aviation BP Euro FARC Gaza Honduras Japan Music SEC Smuggling Turkey humor socialism trading Che Guevara Freddie Mac Geneve IMF Spain currencies violence wikileaks Agriculture Bolívar ETF Restaurants Satire communism computers derivatives Al-Qaida Bubble FT Greece Libya NY PIIGS Republicans Sarkozy Space Sports BRIC CITGO DRC Flotilla Germany Globovision Google Health Inflation Law Mexico Muslim Brotherhood Nazis Pensions Peru Uranium cnbc crime cyberattack fannieMae pakistan stratfor Apollo 11 Autos BBC Bernanke CIA Chile Climate change Congo Democrats EIA Haiti Holocaust IFTTT ISIS Jordan Labor M+A New York OAS Philanthropy Shell South Africa Tufts UN Watch Ukraine bitly carbon earthquake facebook racism twitter Atom BHP Beijing Business CERN CVG CapitalMarkets Congress Curaçao ECB EPA ETA Ecuador Entebbe Florida Gulf oil spill Harvard Hezbollah Human Rights ICC Kenya L'Oréal Large Hadron Collider MasterBlog Morocco Mugabe Nobel Panama Paulson RIO SWF Shiites Stats Sunnis Sweden TARP Tunisia UNHRC Uganda VC Water Yen apple berksire hathaway blogs bush elderly hft iPad journalism mavi marmara nationalization psycology sex spy taxes yuan ALCASA ANC Airbus Amazon Ariel Sharon Australia Batista Bettencourt Big Bang Big Mac Bill Gates Bin Laden Blackstone Blogger Boeing COMEX Capriles Charlie Hebdo Clinton Cocoa DSK Desalination Durban EADS Ecopetrol Elkann Entrepreneur FIAT FTSE Fannie Freddie Funds GE Hayek Helicopters Higgs Boson Hitler Huntsman Ice Cream Intel Izarra KKR Keynes Khodorskovsky Krugman LBO LSE Lex Mac Malawi Maps MasterCharts MasterFeeds MasterLiving MasterMetals MasterTech Microsoft Miliband Monarchy Moon Mossad NYSE Namibia Nestle OWS OccupyWallStreet Oman PPP Pemex Perry Philippines Post Office Private Equity Property Putin QE Rio de Janeiro Rwanda Sephardim Shimon Peres Stuxnet TMX Tennis UAV UNESCO VALE Volcker WTC WWII Wimbledon World Bank World Cup ZIRP Zapatero airlines babies citibank culture ethics foreclosures happiness history iPhone infrastructure internet jobs kissinger lahde laptops lawyers leadership lithium markets miami microfinance pharmaceuticals real estate religion startup stock exchanges strippers subprime taliban temasek ubs universities weddimg zerohedge

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner