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The Cuban Economy, in Pictures

By

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

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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.

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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


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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.


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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.

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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.


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If Cuba says tobacco is bad for you...

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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.

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


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