Lashing Out Again Against Private Restaurants / Rebeca Monzo

Menus from private restaurants — paladares — in Havana

Rebeca Monzo, 24 October 2016 — The Peoples’ Powers and the Ministry of Internal Trade are mobilizing again against successful paladares — privately owned restaurants — using the excuse of corruption and drug sales.

To clarify, it is true that some of these establishments, sadly, are bars and discos and these crimes have occurred. Above all, because there are no licenses for these kinds of businesses, so they get licensed as paladares, and as a “cover” offer some culinary specialities.

Among the things that really annoy the Cuban state, is that these private establishments have proved very successful, exposing the ineptitude and inability of the administration of the regime to face competition. One of the main reasons for this state failure are the low wages and high political demands they make on their employees.

One of the regime’s pretexts to attack these restaurants is prostitution and drugs, but this has nothing to do with them, but rather with the bars and discos, which can only survive under a restaurant license. And it is here that inspectors and corrupt police “get fat.”

What is not said publicly, it is that many of these trouble spots belong to children of senior leaders of the country, while the attacks, unfortunately, are lodged against the most politically vulnerable.

However, the regime has a hard time officially acknowledging that the main dens of prostitution and drugs, have been and are those belonging to the state, the sites of the the biggest scandals of this kind, as happened a few years ago in the Old Havana Brewery and in the Commodore and Copacabana nightclubs, just to mention a few examples.