Friday, March 14, 2008

Consumer news

In what some observers believe will be the first of a raft of minor economic changes in Cuba under Raul Castro, the regime has announced that in future, Cubans will be able to buy a range of electronic consumer goods without restrictions.

According to media reports, Cubans will now be able to purchase computers and DVD and video players without first requiring written permission from the government.

Of course, the equipment will be available only from State-owned shops.

And to buy say, a new computer, Cubans will need to pay for them with convertible pesos rather than with ordinary pesos – the currency the State uses to pay wages.

Given that a covertible peso is worth 25 of the ordinary pesos, and that the average monthly wage in Cuba is about US$15.00 … well, there is unlikely to be a stampede.

And don’t forget that access to the Internet remains forbidden, except for foreigners or for trusted members of the nomenklatura.

Still, the international media think the change is a major political development.

They reckon this is a sure sign that Castro II is about to do away with some of the (many) petty restrictions that have been in place on the island in some cases for nearly half century.

We shall see.


Blogger Allan said...

Can you explain why a website I run gets a lot of hits from Cuba and we even have customers there?
Very Strange if they did not have computers before.
Seems to me this is US propaganda

5:42 am  
Blogger Henry Gomez said...

There are computers in Cuba. Just not a lot of them on a per capita basis and they aren't available to everyday Cubans.

Plus it's Cuba's own news agencies that are reporting the lifting of the ban on computers.

10:49 am  
Blogger paul said...

Re: Henry.
The people that buy from me are everyday Cubans.
I suspect any shortage of computers in Cuba is more to do with the US embargo than it does with any law. (Luckily I am not American and I enjoy the freedoms that Americans don't have, and can trade with who I want to.
I have asked many others and as I have even sold computer components to Cuba I checked with Cuban customs and not one person can show me this law in black and white, and cuban customs told me there was no such law.
I suggest you watch The War On Democracy by John Pilger, it will explain to you what this and many other stories are all about.

5:53 pm  

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