Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Havana business

Like the good little capitalists they are, the Castro brothers have gone into the potentially lucrative online retail game.

According to this AP story, Havana is promoting an online shopping service that allows Cubans outside the country (ie, gusanos with hard currency), to buy presents for their relatives and friends on the island (ie, those without access to hard currency).

Nice, no?

The site has been in operation for a couple of years but is being push hard in time for the Christmas gift-giving season ... even though Fidel Castro abolished Christmas as a day of celebration in his little island paradise more than 35 years ago.

The site is half owned by the Communist Party (of course!), with the other half owned by Spanish entrepreneurs (naturally!).

It seems you can order just about any good imaginable – from guayaberas to personal computers, with the purchases delivered by the Cuban postal service within 24 hours to any address in Havana.

Of course, most of the goods on offer are wildly over-priced. In fact, they are a rort, as the article reveals. For example, a Dell computer that would retail in the US for about USD450.00 is offered at the knockout price of USD1,424.00. A nifty mark-up.

And yes, half the profits go straight into the pockets of the boys from Bairan.


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