01/08/14 - Chicago Tribune - Cuba to partially privatize state taxi firm in drive for efficiency
* Thousands of state drivers affected
* Part of ongoing market-oriented reforms
By Marc Frank
HAVANA, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Thousands of Cuban state taxi drivers will soon
be leasing their vehicles and working on their own as part of a
reorganization of the country's taxi service aimed at improving efficiency,
according to rules published on Wednesday.
The measure follows the similar transfer of barbers, beauticians, small
cafeterias and other retail services by the state to what is called the
"non-state" sector as part of market-oriented reforms under way in the
Cuba nationalized all retail business in 1968, down to the shoe-shine
shops, and fixed all prices. But in an attempt to stimulate the stagnant
economy and reduce bureaucracy, it is giving some of it back in a form of
legal private enterprise operating on a market basis.
The sector now numbers 445,000 people, or 5 percent of the labor force, and
is made up of private, leased and cooperative
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