Ongoing: Democracy + Communism: Synopsis: Communism, across time + geography: Dem-Com_012

Looking into a private barber shop in the Havana Vieja neighborhood of Havana, Cuba. Since privatization was first allowed within Cuba's state-owned socialist system in the mid-70s, the requirements for those allowed to be cuentapropistas (small business entrepreneurs - whose practice wasn't allowed in Bulgaria and most of Eastern Europe until the collapse of communism) 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: if payroll surpasses 5 employees or a $2,000 yearly profit, taxes increase disproportionately (from 15% to 50% in case of the latter.)Cuba, a place of much recent conversation, is a country whose politics and way of life parallel much of my childhood in Bulgaria. This is 2015's continuation to my project on democracy + communism, started last year on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall - the event that gave opportunity to Eastern Europeans like me to immigrate to the Western world. These are the ways in which Cuba has transported me to pre- and post-1989 Bulgaria.

Looking into a private barber shop in the Havana Vieja neighborhood of Havana, Cuba. Since privatization was first allowed within Cuba's state-owned socialist system in the mid-70s, the requirements for those allowed to be cuentapropistas (small business entrepreneurs - whose practice wasn't allowed in Bulgaria and most of Eastern Europe until the collapse of communism) 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: if payroll surpasses 5 employees or a $2,000 yearly profit, taxes increase disproportionately (from 15% to 50% in case of the latter.) 

Cuba, a place of much recent conversation, is a country whose politics and way of life parallel much of my childhood in Bulgaria. This is 2015's continuation to my project on democracy + communism, started last year on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall - the event that gave opportunity to Eastern Europeans like me to immigrate to the Western world. These are the ways in which Cuba has transported me to pre- and post-1989 Bulgaria.