Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books: Western Hemisphere: Entrepreneurial Cuba: The Changing Policy Landscape/Leadership in the Cuban Revolution: The Unseen Story

Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books: Western Hemisphere: Entrepreneurial Cuba: The Changing Policy Landscape/Leadership in the Cuban Revolution: The Unseen Story

Article excerpt

Western Hemisphere Entrepreneurial Cuba: The Changing Policy Landscape BY ARCHIBALD R. M. RITTER AND TED A. HENKEN. Lynne Rienner, 2014, 373 pp. $79.95.

Leadership in the Cuban Revolution: The Unseen Story BY ANTONI KAPCIA. Zed Books, 2014, 256 pp. $29.95.

Since inheriting the reins of power from his ailing brother Fidel in 2008, Raúl Castro has allowed Cubans to open small-scale businesses. Some 450,000 Cubans, or about ten percent of the active work force, quickly took advantage of the new policy, opening private restaurants and bed-and-breakfasts, setting up taxi companies and beauty parlors, and offering their services in construction and electronics repair. In Entrepreneurial Cuba, two veteran Cuba watchers, the social scientists Ritter and Henken, interview many of these new business owners, detail the regulations governing their activities, and calculate the effective tax rates they pay. Particularly valuable are the chapters on the remaining underground economy- businesses not yet able or willing to come out of the shadows-and the contributors' judicious assessments of the new regulations governing the still forming but promising worker-managed cooperative sector. Overall, the authors recognize the significance of Raúl's reforms while finding them insufficient to pull the Cuban economy out of its doldrums. Certainly, Ritter and Henken would applaud U.S. President Barack Obama's recent decision to authorize U. …

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