The heavy foot traffic on Calle Obispo makes it an ideal location for Cuban entrepreneurs to start up small private businesses. That being said, most of the private businesses on Calle Obispo (120 to be exact) are more accurately classified as a micro-enterprise, with no more than three employees including the owner. These micro-enterprises are often no more than a single person selling souvenirs or providing a service from a make-shift table set up inside a doorway. In addition, there are 9 slightly larger private businesses, with four to ten employees. These are small restaurants known as “paladares” and modest retail shops. No private establishments on Calle Obispo have more than ten employees.
Cuba began its foray into private enterprise in the 1990s, in response to the economic crisis prompted by the fall of the Soviet Union. In mid-1990s, “paladares” began to be permissible private businesses, albeit with more restrictions than today. And in 2011, under strict regulation, the Cuba Communist Party began to permit self-employment in additional fields mostly involving retail sales and services. The new entrepreneurs use their own homes or rent space for their businesses.
Explore private enterprise on Calle Obispo in an interactive map>>