More Than $12 Million in Loans to Cuban Workers

HAVANA TIMES — In the past six months, Cuban banks have extended loans amounting to more than 251 million pesos ($12.5 million USD) to individuals and self-employed workers, reported the National Bank of Cuba before the country’s National Assembly on Thursday.

According to a report posted on the official Cubadebate website, the figure represents 80 percent of the more than 45,900 applications that were submitted from late 2011 to the end of May, with the average loan coming to around $345 USD.

Central Bank officials called attention to the “the discrete number of loan requests” from “self-employed workers,” whose numbers already total more than 300,000, but the officials did not specify the exact amount provided to that sector.

It was said that the purchase of materials and labor costs for construction accounted for over 99 percent of uses of funds approved to date.

Official Cuban discourse does not distinguish between the self-employed, the owners and employees of small private businesses or members of cooperative societies: all are lumped together under the Spanish term trabajo por cuenta propia, or self-employment.