Cuban Govt. Yanks Reins on Capitalism
Cuban entrepreneurs taking advantage of a legal gray area have been told they must immediately close privately run cinemas and game salons. Though Raul Castro has received some positive press for creating a list of 200 areas of authorized independent enterprises, budding island capitalists are finding that the government does so under a strict set of rules.
One area of license that was granted early on was for independent restaurants. Savvy Cuban businessmen and businesswomen realized there was an untapped market for new Hollywood movie releases and popular video games. Movie and video parlors began proliferating, in which basic food and drinks were offered for sale but the real draw was the entertainment. There is no specific mention of these forms of entertainment businesses in Castro’s list.
But as totalitarian governments tend to do, an announcement in the Communist Party newspaper put an end to the practice. A message from the Executive Committee of the Council of Ministers read in part: “Cinematic exhibition (including 3D rooms) and computer games will cease immediately in whatever kind of private business activity.”
Vice Minister of Culture Fernando Rojas recently was quoted as saying video salons promote “frivolity, mediocrity, pseudo-culture and banality.” For now, moviegoers are forced to return to the “wholesome” fare offered at state-run theaters. (Derek Dowell – VNN) (Image: Flickr | vxla)