US

Cuba to legalize small and medium-sized private businesses

  • The Mexican tourist Carlos Lome Morales wears a Che Guevara flag over his shoulders, as he lines up at a street stall to buy churros, in Havana, Cuba,Monday, May 23, 2016. The flag has a quote by Guevara that reads in Spanish "To victory always." (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

    The Mexican tourist Carlos Lome Morales wears a Che Guevara flag over his shoulders, as he lines up at a street stall to buy churros, in Havana, Cuba,Monday, May 23, 2016. The flag has a quote by Guevara that reads in Spanish "To victory always." (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)  (The Associated Press)

  • A woman hangs a sign on her front door that reads in Spanish "There's sandwiches" in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, May 24, 2016. Cuba says it will legalize small and medium-sized private businesses, a move that could significantly expand the space allowed for private enterprise in one of the world’s last communist countries. “This is a tremendously important step,” said Alfonso Valentin Larrea Barroso, director-general of Scenius, a cooperatively run economic consulting firm in Havana. “They’re creating, legally speaking, the non-state sector of the economy. They’re making that sector official.” (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)

    A woman hangs a sign on her front door that reads in Spanish "There's sandwiches" in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, May 24, 2016. Cuba says it will legalize small and medium-sized private businesses, a move that could significantly expand the space allowed for private enterprise in one of the world’s last communist countries. “This is a tremendously important step,” said Alfonso Valentin Larrea Barroso, director-general of Scenius, a cooperatively run economic consulting firm in Havana. “They’re creating, legally speaking, the non-state sector of the economy. They’re making that sector official.” (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)  (The Associated Press)

  • Private jeweler and electronics technician Gabriel La O repairs a mobile phone inside a government store where he rents work space in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, May 24, 2016. Cuba says it will legalize small and medium-sized private businesses by adding a category of small, mid-sized and “micro” private business to the Communist party’s master plan for social and economic development. The government currently allows private enterprise by self-employed workers in several hundred job categories. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)

    Private jeweler and electronics technician Gabriel La O repairs a mobile phone inside a government store where he rents work space in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, May 24, 2016. Cuba says it will legalize small and medium-sized private businesses by adding a category of small, mid-sized and “micro” private business to the Communist party’s master plan for social and economic development. The government currently allows private enterprise by self-employed workers in several hundred job categories. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)  (The Associated Press)

Cuba says it will legalize small and medium-sized private businesses, a move that could significantly expand the space allowed for private enterprise in one of the world's last communist countries.

Communist Party documents published Tuesday say a category of small, mid-sized and "micro" private business is being added to the party's master plan for social and economic development.

Until now, the government has allowed private enterprise only by "self-employed" workers in several hundred established categories. In reality, many of those workers have become small business owners employing other Cubans. But many complain about the difficulties of running a business in a system that does not officially recognize them, and that often engages in crackdowns on successful businesses for supposed violations of the arcane rules on self-employment.