Ongoing: Democracy + Communism: In Print - NYT :: Cuba: Communism Relived: Cuba_Paskova_020

Maydelin Pérez Pérez, 38, sells empanadas with her three-year-old daughter, Lorena Sofia Reyez, in the Havana Vieja neighborhood of Havana, Cuba. Pérez is divorced, cannot afford daycare for her four children, and says her ex-husband contributes the equivalent to $1 of child support monthly. She earned less at her government job as a secretary than she does now, as one of Cuba's cuentapropistas (small business entrepreneurs, whose practice wasn't allowed in Bulgaria and most of Eastern Europe until the collapse of communism.) Since privatization was first allowed within Cuba's state-owned socialist system in the mid-70s, the requirements for those allowed to be cuentapropistas have fluctuated from restrictive to less so - the latter in the Raúl Castro era of 2008 and beyond. But a clear disincentive to private business expansion remains, however: if payroll surpasses 5 employees or a $2,000 yearly profit, taxes increase disproportionately (from 15% to 50% in case of the latter.)

Maydelin Pérez Pérez, 38, sells empanadas with her three-year-old daughter, Lorena Sofia Reyez, in the Havana Vieja neighborhood of Havana, Cuba. Pérez is divorced, cannot afford daycare for her four children, and says her ex-husband contributes the equivalent to $1 of child support monthly. She earned less at her government job as a secretary than she does now, as one of Cuba's cuentapropistas (small business entrepreneurs, whose practice wasn't allowed in Bulgaria and most of Eastern Europe until the collapse of communism.)  

Since privatization was first allowed within Cuba's state-owned socialist system in the mid-70s, the requirements for those allowed to be cuentapropistas have fluctuated from restrictive to less so - the latter in the Raúl Castro era of 2008 and beyond. But a clear disincentive to private business expansion remains, however: if payroll surpasses 5 employees or a $2,000 yearly profit, taxes increase disproportionately (from 15% to 50% in case of the latter.)