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Cuba takes 1st step toward providing wholesale access to private-sector entrepreneurs

Cuba is reorganizing a state-run wholesale supplier and directing it to also work with private entrepreneurs and independent cooperatives.

The recent government resolution is a step toward providing better access to wholesale supplies, one of the biggest needs expressed by Cuba's more than 400,000 private-sector workers.

Analysts have called the lack of access a major impediment to the island's budding entrepreneurial class.

Small businesses have had to purchase supplies at retail or rely on "mules," who fly goods in from other countries in overstuffed suitcases.

The resolution says the wholesale entity will offer everything from foodstuffs to computers. It apparently will begin operating sometime in the second quarter of this year.

Cuba is in the process of remaking its socialist economic model with a dollop of private-sector activity.