Welcome, 77 artists, 40 different points of Attica welcomes you by singing Erotokritos an epic romance written at 1713 by Vitsentzos Kornaros

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Cuba struggling to keep professionals from leaving

The central avenue in the western city of Pinar del Rio, population 150,000, was redesigned over the last three years by a private firm of three 20- and 30-something architects hired by the communist provincial government — a contract that would have been unimaginable in Cuba just a few years ago. Over the last decade, Cubans making state salaries of less than $25 a month have moved by the hundreds of thousands into the private sector — opening stores, restaurants and bed-and-breakfasts that have been among the few sources of growth for the island's moribund centrally planned economy. Graduates of Cuba's renowned free universities have been mostly left out of private jobs in their fields, because the state sees the privatization of professions like architecture and accounting as unacceptable in Cuba's socialist system. The three architects began Agora, a Greek word meaning public space, thinking they would work largely for private citizens renovating their homes as bed-and-breakfasts in Pinar and the town of Vinales, a major tourist attraction 30 miles away. A highly successful 200-member cooperative that provided accounting and auditing services to state and private businesses was closed by the government this month because it had violated "its social purpose," according to state officials who provided no further explication. Vidal said Cuba's reluctance to legalize skilled private labor is driving a brain drain to other countries and pushes professionals from low-paying state job to higher-paying unskilled labor. Irina Garcia graduated from the University of Havana's law school in 2009 and left a job with the state prosecutor's office to be a lawyer for a group that works with the Catholic Church to train entrepreneurs.