HAVANA TIMES – The severe economic crisis in Cuba right now, as well as currency reform, have been a big blow to small private businesses. Licenses to operate have gone up, and the Government has stepped up restrictions, while sales have dropped because of the crisis itself, which have all made private business owners’ everyday lives a never-ending battle for survival.
Right now, people’s priorities lie in putting food on the table at home, Edel says, who walks down Central Havana’s streets with his cart full of sweets. Sales have plummeted and he is the breadwinner in his household. The street vendor license Edel has forces him to walk all day. Stopping for an extended period of time on a street corner can get him a fine that nobody can afford to pay.
Others, such as Rosa or Roberto, have improvised their businesses in their home so they don’t have to go outside, at a time when around 1,000 COVID-19 cases are being reported every day, and the Government has announced new restrictions.
It’s an everyday struggle for Cubans to live a dignified life. Lots of the time, they are pushed to take illegal action by the same measures that are supposed to protect their rights, and only restrict them instead.