In Cuba, where the economy is 90 percent controlled by the state, hundreds of packages and parcels arrive every day, sent by exiled Cubans to their families back home or brought in by travelers who make a profit by reselling the merchandise.This is what it looks like when you belong to the government...
Under the new measure, merchandise is taxed at the rate of 10 dollars a kilo after the first three kilos. Foodstuffs -- exempted from such taxes after hurricanes hit Cuba in 2008 -- are also taxed now.
That's bad news for privately owned restaurants which, in the absence of a wholesale market in Cuba, relied on such shipments for products they cannot find within Cuba.
The new tax "could seriously raise prices of imported consumer goods, the supply of which is scant in the retail trade network," said de Miranda, of the Pontifical Xaverian University in Cali, Colombia.
In other countries this kind of levy is imposed to protect local producers. But in Cuba "there is no need to protect any national producer, as the consumer goods industry is incapable of meeting local demand."
"If the idea is to discourage the black market and get people to go to state-run stores, these stores would have to be sufficiently stocked at affordable prices," movie-maker Eduardo del Llano wrote in his blog eduardodelllano.wordpress.com. The average Cuban earns less than 20 dollars a month.
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Equal Poverty For Everybody
How the government makes people pay their fair share in a land where everyone is poor: