Misreporting (and Deceiving) on Cuba's "Private" Restaurants

Monday, September 22, 2014
Over the weekend, CNN reported from Havana, "Cuba says 9,000 restaurants can now be privately owned."

Meanwhile, AFP reported, "Cuba to privatize 9,000 restaurants."

Both stories allege the Castro regime announced that some state-owned restaurants will be "sold" to "private owners."

They refer to comments in Cuban state media by Deputy Domestic Trade Minister, Ada Chavez Oviedo.

Yet nowhere in the state media stories, which CNN and AFP cited as sources, are the terms "privately-owned", "privatize" or "sold" mentioned.

(To the contrary, the state media stories stress continued state-ownership.)

As a matter of fact, the only transfer term used in the state media is "arrendado" -- meaning "leased."

The rest is fabricated by CNN and AFP.

What the Castro regime actually announced is that it will continue to "gradually and orderly" lease some state restaurants to "cuenta-propistas" ("self-employment licensees").

However, the restaurants will remain state-owned.  These licensees would simply manage the restaurants -- for the state.

There are no "privately-owned" restaurants in Cuba, nor any "privatization" taking place.

Cuban "self-employment" licensees have no ownership rights. They don't even have any leaseholder rights.

They perform a service -- for the state -- at the arbitrary whim of the state -- with no rights or recourse.

CNN and AFP can plead ignorance or sloppiness in its reporting.

However, anti-sanctions lobbyists who repeat this jargon are seeking to purposefully deceive -- for they know better.

All they have to do is listen to the five "self-employed" licensees they've been parading around Washington, D.C. and Miami.

As Yamina Vicente, a Cuban event planning "self-employed" licensee (Decorazon), explained at a recent forum:

"None of us around this table is actually a business. We don’t have yet legal status as companies. We are individuals authorized to be self-employed, por cuenta propia. Legally, Decorazon or Atelier [the restaurant] or D’Brujas [the soap manufacturing and sales business], don't exist as companies."

Note to the media and anti-sanctions lobbyists: Playing along with the Castro regime's injustices and distortions only facilitates them.