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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Are Cooperatives Dangerous for Cuba?

Opening a cooperative in Cuba, however, is an arduous task: the paperwork takes years, you need approval from the municipal government, authorization from the pertinent ministry and permission from the Commission for the Implementation of the Communist Party Guidelines – and the very Council of Ministers has the last word anyways.

None of these permits, authorizations and years of waiting are justified when the members of the cooperatives are simply going to repair air conditioning units or old television sets. It’s really not a question of deciding whether this work is of “strategic” importance for the nation’s economy.

It seems that they fear, not the work per se, but the cooperative as a company structure as such. Self-employed persons (setting up small and mid-sized private enterprises) are given the licenses denied members of cooperatives in a mere 15 days.

The explanations as to this wariness with respect to cooperatives are varied. Some say they fear these could become the breeding ground for corruption...

Others claim that the development of cooperatives would leave the country’s ministries without “sources of financing.” The problem lies in the fact that much of the “extra” money that circulates among corrupt officials comes precisely from companies “administered” by ministries.

They may fear losing control. Cooperatives are legal entities, something self-employed persons are not. They are a legally incorporated company, with the obligations but also de the rights that State companies have, even in terms of importing.

Read the full article at Havana Times


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