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The Cuban Economy, in Pictures


A firsthand photojournal of the Western Hemisphere's last Communist holdout.

The people of Cuba are wonderful, but its economy is a mess. A centrally-planned disaster that fully fell apart when the Soviet Union did, the Cuban system somehow staggers along under the weight of its own inefficiency. Here's a glimpse of what it looks like on the ground:

No McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) or KFC (NYSE:YUM) here; the state-owned Ditu Pollo (left) is open (sort of) for business at this location along Havana's Malecon.


The Olive Garden (NYSE:DRI) may claim to treat you like family, but in Cuba, eating out means literally sitting down with someone's family. Tentative reforms by President Raul Castro have legalized certain small privately-run businesses, like this paladar, a restaurant in the front room of a private home, Centro Habana


Cuba's crumbling transportation infrastructure is augmented by official vehicles, which are required by law to pick up hitchhikers. This woman caught a ride from downtown Havana in a police truck.


The old Fords (NYSE:F) and Chevys (NYSE:GM) that cruise Havana
as set-route shared taxis are probably the most reliable way for locals to get around. Fares are around one peso per passenger, roughly $.04.


Whether one works for the state salary of ~$20/month, or is trying to scratch out a living themselves under the new rules, everybody is hustling to make ends meet. A bread seller walks the early morning streets of Trinidad de Cuba.


If Cuba says tobacco is bad for you...


Bowling was banned under the tenets of the Revolution, until Cuba was awarded the 11th Pan Am Games in 1986. This is a two-lane state-run alley, Cienfuegos.


The Marlboro Man looks so much different with a beard, no?

Justin on Twitter: @chickenalaking
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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