The Reading / Listening – Cuba – Level 5

Cuba is legalising the ownership of small and medium-sized businesses. This is a huge shift in policy from the communist-ruled country. State-owned companies have been normal in Cuba since the 1959 revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power. He nationalised Cuba’s industries and put them into state hands. Now entrepreneurs can operate businesses with up to 100 employees. The government’s change of heart came after a month of street protests against worsening economic conditions. People also protested about a lack of food and the coronavirus pandemic.

Cuba’s president said he would do more to improve the economy. Cuba relies on tourism to get foreign currency reserves. The coronavirus pandemic has greatly impacted this sector. Another key industry in Cuba is sugar. Bad weather and poor harvests have reduced revenues. Falling reserves of foreign currency means it has become difficult for Cuba to import food and medicine. An expert on Cuba said “many entrepreneurs from the private sector have spent years striving, working and trying to contribute” to Cuba’s economic well-being.