The "Illegality" of Castro's Self-Employment

Thursday, February 17, 2011
According to Cuba's Office of National Statistics (ONS), at the end of 2010, there were 11,857 registered "legal entities" in Cuba.

That is a 6% decline from 2005, when there were 12,614 registered entities.

Furthermore, the ONS shows a decline in all categories of registered entities, with exception of those directly controlled and operated by the regime, which grew by 20.7%

So where's the explosion of self-employment and entrepreneurial activity that the media exaggerates?

Are they operating without legal recognition (in "illegality")?

Apparently so -- which means they can be shut down overnight without legal explanation.

Bottom line: Castro's so-called self-employment licenses continue to be a temporary charade in order to survive the current economic crisis.

Upon stabilizing, game over. (Thus the U.S. shouldn't be providing a financial lifeline to the regime).

As Havana-based lawyer and blogger Miriam Celaya recently explained in post -- there can be no reforms without legal rights:

For economic reforms to be effective, a new legal system is necessary

The fact that no legal document exists that clearly explains how measures are established for each [self-employment] activity, the particular requirements of each and the obligations and rights of investors, only creates a vagueness and formlessness that favors speculation and corruption on behalf of the regime officials in charge of the process, as well as the defenselessness for those that risk investment in the private sector. To summarize it in a simple phrase: in a State where no citizen rights exist, there are no legal guarantees for slaves that aspire to freedom.