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Businesses to Advertise in Cuban Phonebook

The Cuban government announced yesterday that it will allow small- and medium-size private businesses to advertise in the next edition of Cuba’s national phonebook. To list a business name, address and up to two phone numbers in the back of the book, the state telephone monopoly Etecsa will charge the equivalent of $10, a steep fee in a country where the average salary is $20 per month. The deadline for reserving ad space in the 2012 phonebook is December 23.

“The insertion of the services of the non-state sector into the Telephone Directory helps satisfy the demand for that information," reported Granma, Cuba’s Communist Party newspaper. The government's decision comes as a result of extensive economic reforms in the last two years that have created a space for private enterprise in Cuba. This was done to stimulate the island’s struggling economy after the government began laying off thousands of public-sector workers last fall. Since then, more than 346,000 private businesses have been created.

But a study published by the Center for Democracy in the Americas in November found that the Castro government’s reforms, particularly creating opportunities for a new private sector, will not be enough to address Cuba’s economic woes. Cuba's New Resolve: Economic Reform and its Implications for U.S. Policy finds that Cubans will require job training and skill development to operate their business’ successfully.

Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.
Tags: Small business, Raul Castro, Economic Policy

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