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Entrepreneurial Cuba: The Changing Policy Landscape

Archibald R.M. Ritter and Ted A. Henken
Entrepreneurial Cuba: The Changing Policy Landscape
ISBN: 978-1-62637-163-7
ISBN: 978-1-62637-233-7
2015/373 pages
A FirstForumPress Book
Also of interest: Cuba Under Raúl Castro: Assessing the Reforms by Carmelo Mesa-Lago and Jorge Pérez-López and Cuba's Socialist Economy Today: Navigating Challenges and Change by Paolo Spadoni
"Rich in its analysis, [Entrepreneurial Cuba] is balanced and comprehensive.... a must-read for those interested in the country's current situation. Its publication is timely not only for what it reveals regarding the country's economic, social, and political situation but also for its insights regarding the country's future evolution." —Sergio Díaz-Briquets, Cuban Studies

"One of the best volumes published on the potential of the non-state sector."—Journal of Latin American Studies

"An encyclopedic, balanced, and laudable volume.... the most comprehensive and profound on self-employment so far."—Latin American Research Review

"Provides a revealing analysis of Cuba's fledgling private sector."—Choice

"A provocative, compelling, and essential read. The ethnographic work alone is worth the price of admission."—John W. Cotman, Howard University

"A multifaceted analysis of Cuban economic activity.... Ritter and Henken paint a lively picture of daily life in entrepreneurial Cuba."—Julia Sweig, Council on Foreign Relations


During the presidency of Raúl Castro, Cuba has dramatically reformed its policies toward small private enterprises. Archibald Ritter and Ted Henken consider why—and to what effect.

After reviewing the evolution of policy since 1959, the authors contrast the approaches of Fidel and Raúl Castro and explore in depth the responses of Cuban entrepreneurs to the new environment. Their work, rich in ethnographic research and extensive interviews, provides a revealing analysis of Cuba's fledgling private sector.


Archibald R.M. Ritter is distinguished research professor emeritus of economics and international affairs at Carleton University. Ted A. Henken is associate professor of sociology and Latin American studies at Baruch College, CUNY.


  • Cuba's Changing Policy Landscape.
  • The Small-Enterprise Sector.
  • Revolutionary Trajectories and Strategic Shifts, 1959–1990.
  • The "Special Period," 1990–2006.
  • Policy Reform Under Raúl Castro, 2006–2014.
  • The Movement Toward Non-Agricultural Cooperatives.
  • The Underground Economy.
  • The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of the Paladar, 1993–2013.
  • The Future of Small Enterprise in Cuba.
  • Appendix 1: Timeline of Small Enterprise Under the Revolution.
  • Appendix 2: 201 Legalized Self-Employment Occupations.