The shift away from exclusive state control of the economy is perhaps the most important change brought about by Raul Castro since he replaced his brother, Fidel Castro, as President of Cuba in 2008.
One of the most immediate impacts to the Cuban economy was to downsize Cubataxi, the state-operated taxi service. Starting in 2010, drivers became self-employed, leasing a vehicle from the government at a daily rate. The government reported that the yearly income from each taxi was estimated to multiply 30-fold after one year.
There was an equally important social impact for Cuba’s taxi drivers. With the freedom to operate independently, private taxi drivers quickly rose to the 1% of Cuba’s income earners. That rarefied air was previously available only to waiters working in the island nation’s new private restaurants, called paladares.
Here is a video about the taxi driver’s new elite status.
On a recent trip to Cuba, the Cuba Journal staff hired a private taxi driver to get around Cuba and explore the country’s cultural and architectural features. His name is Yuniel Fernandez. He can help you in Havana or Veradero – and he will not fail to entertain, protect and guide his customers. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for Yuniel’s email address.
Here’s what he did for us….