Capitalism Underground in Cuba

Capitalism Underground in Cuba

Cleartrust founder, Kara, reflects on glimpses of capitalism caught during a recent trip to communist Cuba.

Forty-five short minutes and our plane touches down in a world ostensibly trapped in time: La Havana. But this isn't the final destination for the team I am leading on a humanitarian trip. A six-hour layover stretches before us as we wait for our next flight. The airport of this nation's capital has a humble café serving beverages in a hot, humid waiting room…

These black market enterprises are everywhere, hidden in plain sight and just beyond the detection of the informants stationed on every block of every town by the Department of the Defense of the Revolution. For the consumers, these small entrepreneurial ventures keep families fed when shelves are empty and children clothed when prices are too high, offering an affordable alternative to state-run stores. For the merchant, these ventures offer a lifeline of hope that one day enough money can be saved to afford better nutrition, a car or even a home.

It seems humans have an indomitable spirit to create, to grow, to move forward. The entrepreneurial spirit that conceived Capitalism can be oppressed but it cannot, as the Cuban people prove, be crushed….