Cuba: The good news ... the bad news

The good news: 500,000 opportunities for Cuban workers!

Cuba to spur private sector


Cuba will let more than 500,000 state employees go by next March and try to move most to non-state jobs in the biggest shift to the private sector since the 1960s, the official Cuban labor federation said Monday.

The layoffs will start immediately and run through the first half of next year, according to an announcement Monday by the nearly 3 million-strong Cuban Workers Confederation — the only labor union the government tolerates.

The statement said eventually more than a million jobs would be cut and, due to efforts to increase efficiency in the state sector, there would be few new state sector openings.

More than 85 percent of the Cuban labor force, or over 5 million people, worked for the state at the close of 2009, according to the government.

"Our state cannot and should not continue maintaining companies, productive entities, services and budgeted sectors with bloated payrolls (and) losses that hurt the economy," the statement said.

"Job options will be increased and broadened with new forms of non-state employment, among them leasing land, cooperatives and self-employment, absorbing hundreds of thousands of workers in the coming years," it said.


"We have to erase forever the notion that Cuba is the only country in the world in which people can live without working," Castro said, upon announcing in general terms his plans to cut state payrolls and increase self employment in an August speech to the National Assembly.

The news comes less than a week after Fidel Castro's much-reported comments to a U.S. reporter that the Cuban economic model no longer works.

Castro, in semi-retirement, retracted the remarks featured in The Atlantic a few days later, telling a Havana University crowd that his comments were misinterpreted.

Cuba currently has only 591,000 people working in the private sector, a number that includes mostly family farmers as well as 143,000 self-employed, according to the National Statistics Office.

The bad news: There are only 591K working in the private sector. And just how much fun is it make bricks!?

New jobs in Cuba? Raising rabbits, making bricks


Cuba's communist leaders have already determined what they want soon-to-be-dismissed workers to do after they get their pink slips in massive government layoffs, detailing a plan for them to raise rabbits, paint buildings, make bricks, collect garbage and pilot ferries across Havana's bay.

The plans, along with a timetable for which government sectors will get the ax first, are laid out in an internal Communist Party document obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press. Cuba on Monday announced plans to cut 500,000 state workers by March 2011 and help them get work in the private sector, in the most sweeping reforms instituted since President Raul Castro took over from his brother in 2008.

Many of those to be let go will be urged to form private cooperatives. Others will be pushed into jobs at foreign-run companies and joint ventures. Still more will need to set up their own small business — particularly in the areas of transport and house rental — according to an internal Communist Party document obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.

Comment: I would like to see the Federal government cut 6% of the Federal public sector workforce ... say over 3 years. And then freeze it for 10 years.

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