Cuban carriage drivers try a worker-managed cooperative

Since early last year, the horse-drawn carriage business, which is centered near Havana's landmark Capitolio, has been a worker-managed cooperative called El Carruaje that includes 124 drivers.

As part of an effort to move hundreds of thousands of Cubans off state payrolls that began in 2010, the government has been turning formerly state-run service enterprises — beauty salons, barber shops, taxi collectives, restaurants, and yes, horse-drawn carriage concessions — over to their workers.

“It’s a new thing. Before we were state workers,” said Leo Pérez Pérez, who heads the carriage drivers cooperative. “Carriages carried the aristocracy in the colonial era, and Eusebio Leal, the historian of Havana, revived this activity as a historic gesture.”

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