Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Those money-making generals

There is an interesting report in today's edition of Clarin, the Buenos Aires daily, about the Cuban economy.

According to the paper's correspondent in Havana, the Cuban military now control over 30 per cent of all companies on the island, with senior officers directly in charge of no fewer than about 850 State-owned enterprises.

And these enterprises range from four-star tourist hotels to car rental firms and even local restaurants.

The paper points out that much to the delight of the generals, just seven per cent of the companies managed by the military recorded financial losses last year, compared to 38 per cent for non-military companies.

But please, don't assume for a minute that all this managerial expertise and free access of foreign currency is making Cuban generals personally wealthy. Of course not.

An unnamed senior military officer told the paper that contrary to the dreadful rumours spread by the "imperialists", the entrepreneurial generals get pay "just 30 dollars a month". And to get home, they still need to hitch-hike. Honest.


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