14YMedio – Half a dozen privately-owned snack cars and restaurants across from Jose Marti International Airport Terminal 2 were ordered to cease operations despite meeting all the tax, commercial and health requirements imposed by law.
The measure affects the large number of people who come to this terminal to drop off or pick up their family members who travel between the United States and Cuba. In the airport there are two state-run snack bars which, in the opinion of the visitors, lack the variety and quality offered by private facilities.
According to statements to 14ymedio from several of the owners of the closed premises, officials showed up three months ago who imposed the closure measure without giving any explanation Some of the snack bars and restaurants had been open for more than three years and the owners had invested heavily, especially in furniture and kitchen facilities.
José G., one of the self-employed, said that after much paperwork and appeals it appears they will allows them to reopen, but in another place at the back of an alley with very little commercial visibility and difficult access, since the street is not paved.
“They say right here, between our doors and they street, they will erect a separating wall,” says José, who has also complained for years, that “they haven’t even wanted to build a sidewalk for pedestrians. I don’t know if it’s hatred or envy, but the truth is that they’re trying to strangle us.”
At the end of 2013, Cuba 444,109 people were registered as self-employed in Cuba, mostly in food services, passenger transport, renting rooms, and in the production and sale of household items.
The self-employed complain about high taxes, lack of a wholesale market, the inability to independently import and export, and the excessive controls and restrictions placed on them by the inspectors.