Wednesday, February 25, 2015

List of jobs that are eligible for self-employment in Cuba -- send in the clowns (and the programmers)

In a previous post I noted that the US will now allow imports of goods and services produced by Cuban entrepreneurs who are independent of the government. It turns out that the Cuban government has a list of 201 jobs that are authorized for self-employment and the list includes Computer Programmer -- leading me to wonder if we would be importing Cuban software and software services.

Another job that caught my eye was Retail Telecommunication Agent, which got be thinking about operators of local Internet-access businesses in rural areas -- perhaps using satellite links where terrestrial connectivity is not available.

But what of the other 199 jobs that are eligible for self-employment in Cuba -- might there be other exports? It turns out that the many of the jobs are providing local service -- small restaurant owner, nanny, barber etc. Others may produce small items which could be exported like ceramic pots or costume jewelry, but software was the only interesting exportable item I found.

But, the list is interesting in its own right, independent of tech or other exports. It is funny -- goofy. I got a kick out of reading it. On a more serious note, it says something about Cuban bureaucracy and the desire to micro-manage. It would have been fun to watch the process by which this list was defined.

We see frequent, optimistic reference to Cuba's desire to liberalize and move toward a market economy, but dealing with a government that would attempt to create such a list would be difficult.


For a little more insight into the frustration one experiences with bureaucracy in using the Internet in Havana, read this account by a visiting university student. It reminds me of the old Soviet Union saying "we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us." The Cuban Internet faces cultural as well as political and economic hurdles.

At any rate, although this is a little off-topic for this blog, here is the list of 201 jobs authorized for self-employment:*

Musical Instrument Tuning and Repair
Water Delivery
Construction Laborer
Animal Rental
Formal Wear Rental
Knife Grinder
Party Entertainer (clowns, magicians)
Mule Driver
Artisan (arts and crafts maker)
Mechanical Saw Operator (as in a sawmill)
Babysitter/Nanny
Barber
Embroiderer/Knitter
Wagon or Pushcart Operator (to help move things)
Flower Bed Arranger
Carpenter
Mobile Hand Cart Hawker of Agricultural Products
Locksmith
Furniture Repairman
Collector and Payer of Bills
Operator of Children’s Fun Wagon Pulled by Pony or Goat
Buyer and Seller of Records (including CDs)
Used Book Seller
Builder/Seller/Installer of Radio and TV Antennas
Craftsman/Seller/Repairman of Wicker Furniture
Breeder/Seller of Pets
Window Glass Repair
Animal Caretaker
Public Bathroom Attendant
Caretaker of Elderly/Handicapped
Public Park Caretaker
Leather Tanner (except cows and horses)
Decorator
Palm Tree Trimmer
Restaurant Owner (paladares)
Café Owner (cafetería)
Non-Alcoholic Beverage Seller (home delivery)
Café Owner (cafeteria, light snacks and beverages)
Street-based Seller of Food and Beverages
Charcoal Manufacturer/Seller
Wine Maker/Seller
Maker of Yokes, Harnesses and Rope for Oxen
Electrician
Automobile Electrician
Building Superintendent
Book Binding
Electric Motor Rewiring
Animal Trainer
Flower Wreath Arranger
Button Coverer (wraps buttons in cloth, popular in the 50’s and 60’s)
Photographer
Car washer/Oil Changer
Bus/Train/Taxi Stop Barker (calls out instructions to waiting passengers)
Engraver of Numbers
Blacksmith/Seller of Horseshoes and Nails
Trader of Scrap Metals
Driving Instructor
Sports Trainer (except martial arts and diving)
Gardener
Clothes Washing/Ironing
Woodsmen/Logger
Shining Shoes
Spark Plug Cleaner and Tester
Septic Tank Repairman and Cleaner
Manicurist
Make-up Artist
Masseuse
Plasterer
Refrigerator Mechanic
Typist and Copier
Messenger
Seamstress/Tailor
Miller of Grains
Audio Systems Installer/Operator
Tire Repair
Children’s Ride Operator
Parking Attendant (including for cars, bicycles)
Hairdresser
Animal Groomer
Cleaning/Household Help
Car Painter
Furniture Painter and Polisher
House Painter
Sign Painter
Ornamental Fish Farmer
Plastic Covering Maker for IDs
Plumber
Well Digger
Producer/Seller of Items Used in the Home (self-made or made by other selfemployed)
Producer/Seller of Rubber Accessories
Producer/Seller of Clay Goods (pots, planters, cookware)
Producer/Seller of Bricks and Tiles
Producer/Seller of Articles and Animals for Religious Use
Producer/Seller of Harnesses, Blankets, and Saddles
Producer/Seller of Costume Jewelry
Shoemaker/Shoe Salesman
Producer/Seller of Brooms and Brushes
Producer/Seller of Plaster Figurines
Grower/Seller of Ornamental Plants
Piñata Maker/Seller
Grower/Seller of Plants for Animal Feed and Medicinal Purposes
Music/Art Instructor
Shorthand, Typing, and Language Instructor
Computer Programmer
Metal Polisher
Collector/Seller of Natural Resources (i.e. sea shells)
Collector/Seller of Recyclables
Watch Repair
Leather Repair
Jewelry Repair
Bedframe Repair
Automobile Battery Repair
Bicycle Repair
Costume Jewelry Repair
Fence and Walkway Repair
Stove/Range Repair
Mattress Repair
Small Household Goods Repair
Office Equipment Repair
Electronic Equipment Repair
Mechanical and Combustion Equipment Repair
Eyeglass Repair
Sewing Machine Repair
Saddle and Harness Repair
Umbrella and Parasol Repair
Disposable Lighter Repair and Refill
Tutor (currently employed teachers not eligible)
Doll and Toy Repair
Art Restorer
Night Watchman or Building Doorman
Welder
Leather Craftsman
Upholsterer
Roofer
Accountant/Tax Preparation
Textile Dyer
Machinist
Roaster (i.e. of peanuts, coffee)
Part-time Farm Laborer
Document Translator
Shearer (as in sheep)
Thresher
Vegetable/Fruit Street Vendor (from fixed venues)
Shoe Repair
Contracted Employee of a Self-Employed
Event Planner (weddings, etc
Mason
Real Estate Broker
Repair of Measurement Instruments
Food Wholesaler
Food Retailer (in kiosks and farmers’ markets)
Room/Home Rental
Postal Agent
Telecommunications Agent (retail)
Building Construction Services
Car Body Remolding
Maker/Seller of Marble Objects
Maker/Seller of Soaps, Dyes
Welder
Iron Worker (grating for doors, windows)
Welder/Flamecutter (cutting with gas)
Maker/Seller of Aluminum Products
Maker/Seller of Non-Ferrous Metals
Floor Polisher
Repairer of Water Pumps
Space Rentals in One’s Home to Selfemployed
Insurance Agent
Maker/Seller of Food and Beverages in “China Town”
Private Construction Contractor (in the Havana “Old Town”)
Horse and Carriage Rides
Antique Dealer
Habaneras (women posing in colorful colonial attire)
Fortune Tellers
Folkloric Dancers
Mambises-style Musical Groups (traditional Cuban music)
Caricaturists
Artificial Flowers Seller
Painters (who sell pictures in the street)
Dandy (man dressed in Colonial garb)
Hair Braider
Fresh Fruit Peeler
Dance Duo “Amor” (traditional Cuban dances)
Benny Moré Dance Team
Trained Dog Exhibitor
Musical Duo “Los Amigos” (popular music)
Extras (people in period dress)
Traditional Barber
Truck Driver
Station Wagon Driver
Small-Truck Driver
Bus Driver
Mini-Bus Driver
Taxi Driver
Handcar Operator (on rails)
Jeep Driver
Passenger Boat Operator
Motorcycle Driver
Three-Wheeled Pedal Taxi Driver
Cart Operator
Horse-Drawn Carriage Operator
Pedal Taxi Driver

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* This list was taken from an appendix in a very interesting report -- "Soft Landing in Cuba? Emerging Entrepreneurs and Middle Classes" by Richard Feinberg. The list is dated September 26, 2013 and may have changed subsequently.

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Update 3/11/2015

Cuban self employment is rising, but, as we have seen, the job categories are mostly domestic service jobs.



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