Castro freezes Cuban private sector, throws future in doubt

ABC NewsTwo years after taking office, President Raul Castro widened the niche for private enterprise in Cuba’s state-dominated economy. Capitalism came pouring in.

Slowly at first, then gaining speed, spare rooms for rent became rental homes, which became boutique hotels. Backyard cafes became elegant restaurants and bustling nightclubs, backed with millions in capital from the prosperous Cuban diaspora in Miami, Latin America and Spain. English tutors started citywide private after-school programs. And the booming private economy reached into the Communist-led bureaucracy — paying off inspectors, buying stolen state goods and recruiting talented employees with salaries dwarfing those in the public sector. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

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