Where Are the "Cuentapropista" ("Self-Employed") Defenders?

Friday, December 4, 2015
Last week, nearly 60 Cuba "cuentapropistas" ("self-employed licensees") were arrested in the historic Old Havana district.

They were mostly those who practice under licenses for "jewelry repair" and to produce "imitation jewelry."

These "cuentapropistas" had their personal effects confiscated, along with their work equipment and money. To add insult to injury, upon arrest, their bail was set at 5,000 pesos.

Also, during the last months, scores of "cuentapropistas" have been shut down and expelled from the Avenida del Puerto, an area adjacent to the Port of Havana.

Why? In anticipation of potential cruise-ship arrivals next year (thanks to the Obama Administration), all of the areas surrounding the Port have been taken over by GAESA, the military corporation run by Raul Castro's son-in-law, General Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez-Callejas.

GAESA will flood the area with new retail stores, restaurants and other strategic enterprises. Thus, all of those cruise-ship travelers will overwhelmingly benefit the Castro regime from beginning-to-end.

The Castro regime is simply doing what it has done over-and-over again: It issues "cuentapropista" licenses during hard economic times, then reverses, freezes or revokes them upon recovery.

This is why we are seeing how Cubans prefer to spend thousands of dollars (by selling everything or borrowing from their families) to flee the island -- and risk their lives -- than to become a "cuentapropista" licensee.

We've waited to post this information, as we were hoping that the most vocal (purported) defenders of "cuentapropistas" in the United States, including the Obama Administration, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and anti-sanctions lobbyists, would have spoken out by now.

Yet, they haven't -- further demonstrating that all of the talk about "empowering" the Cuban people is simply a poor distraction from the reality of embracing the Castro dictatorship and doing business with its monopolies.