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Cuban Economy Is Still Stagnant Despite Reforms: Cuban National

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"The United States is the ceiling of heaven," says Cuban national.

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Ironically, would-be entrepreneurs can find themselves on both sides of the black market with the same business, and our source related the following story:

One family, which rented a small piece of land, went from living in poverty to operating a registered car dealership. Through working the land and bartering or selling the remainder of harvest after taxes, the family saved enough money to purchase a small car. The car provided access to different markets in different towns because the family members could transport the food and goods, such as heavy bags rice, to areas that lacked these items. The individual with the car transported food and goods from the interior of the country to the urban areas like Havana and made a killing. Urban residents have a rough time acquiring food from the countryside, though, many urban gardens exist in cities like Havana.

The family purchased additional cars with the profit from sales and sold more goods in multiple areas. However, selling food and goods outside of the family's town was illegal, making the family a group black market dealers.

Eventually the family collected a small fleet of cars and asked the government for permission to become a car dealer. The family registered the business with the government and paid taxes, making the business legitimate again. Entrepreneurs in Cuba constantly walk the line between legal and illegal commerce.

Overall -- and despite accusations that he was going easy on Cuba -- our source expressed disappointment with the results of the changes Cuban President Raúl Castro has introduced and tremendous disillusionment. While there have been various reforms, many of which were implemented since 2010, it's made little difference day-to-day. Asked if the government was likely to make other major political reforms, the individual simply responded, "No."

Twitter: @ChrisWitrak
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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