HAVANA – Cuba has opened up its first wholesale market in an economy dominated by government-run enterprises.
State-run newspaper Granma says the market is part of an ongoing effort to "reorganize" commerce on the communist island. The market will sell beans, beer, sugar, cigars and other basic staples for 20 to 30 percent less than the products are sold throughout the country.
Since 2010, the government has authorized about 500,000 people to operate private businesses, and many of them have long-sought access to a wholesale marketplace. Their wait is not over. The government says the market known as the Mercabal is only open to 35 worker-owned cooperatives in Havana, at least for now.
The state-run economy accounts for 70 to 80 percent of the Cuban economy.