HAVANA, January 23. A group of Cuban private businessmen assured this Monday that MSMEs (micro, small and medium-sized businesses) are not linked to the Government, as has been claimed in sectors contrary to it.In addition, they asked the US for the same facilities that the private sector of other countries that are also sanctioned by the State Department have.
The appearance, which took place at the headquarters of a food production and import company in Havana, took place days after an appearance at the Western Hemisphere subcommittee of the US Congress on new private firms in Cuba.
In it, the Republican congresswoman of Cuban origin María Elvira Salazar assured that many owners of these new businesses – more than 10,000, according to the Ministry of Economy – are people linked to the Cuban Government, which she defined as “the Hamas of the continent.” ”.
In this regard, Oniel Hernández, co-founder of the firm AUGE, asserted that Salazar’s hearing was an “attempt to try to tie the hands of the administration” of Democratic President Joe Biden in his policy towards the island.
He also assured that private enterprise in Cuba “is real” and that “it is impossible for a sector where 1.6 million people are employed” to be completely linked to the Government or the leaders of the Communist Party.
At the hearing in the United States Congress, Eric Jacobstein, deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Latin American Affairs of the State Department, assured that Washington does not plan for now to allow MSMEs access to the US banking system.
In that sense, Salazar warned that doing so would “violate the economic embargo” against Cuba.
For Carlos Miguel Pérez, a partner in a software company, but also a deputy, the appearance “was very regrettable.” However he warned that Congresswoman Salazar’s position coincides with the “Cuban ultra-left”, which is also against the private sector on the island.
Considered by some specialists as great drivers of the economy, others blame them for the high inflation and that the high prices of their products have highlighted and deepened the social differences in Cuba.
19.6% of MSMEs are dedicated to manufacturing activities and 12% to the production of food and beverages, and they employ 225,000 Cubans, of which 189,000 are new jobs, according to official data.
This sector employs more than 15% of the country’s workers and contributes just under 14% of GDP, according to official figures.
MSMEs coexist with the state company – the main one for the State in the Cuban socialist system –, non-agricultural cooperatives and self-employed workers.