The Cuban Economy: What’s Next for the Private Sector?


Event Summary This event has passed.

Although state-run companies still dominate the economic landscape, growth of private enterprises—including upscale and modest restaurants, rooming facilities for tourists, beauty salons and barbershops, small, owner-managed farms, agriculture co-ops, and a great diversity of self-employed workers—has been the most consequential change in the Cuba economy over the past dozen years. Independent businesses now employ more than 30 percent of the country’s workforce and appear likely to expand further. At the same time, private economic activity continues to be hampered by the country’s weakened economy and the government’s failure to pursue badly needed reforms. These problems have been compounded by the Trump Administration’s hardening of US sanctions and the recent decline in foreign tourism.

Our focus will be on the potential for continuing expansion; the obstacles, both domestic and foreign, that have to be confronted; and the broader significance of the private sector for the island’s future. Please, note that there has been a change in speaker since our earlier invitation.

Follow this event on Twitter at #USCubaFuture and @The_Dialogue.


Ted A. Henken

Professor of Sociology and Latin American Studies, Baruch College, City University of New York (CUNY)


Centennial Fellow, School of Foreign Service and Distinguished Resident Fellow in Latin American Studies, Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown University


Researcher and Consultant on the social economy and enterprise sector in Cuba




President Emeritus, Inter-American Dialogue


A light lunch will be served starting at noon.