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Cuba Slaps Tax On Goods Sent Home By Exiles

From the Agence France-Presse:

New tax in Cuba threatens consumption in a hungry nation

By Carlos Batista | Tuesday Sept 4, 2012

Cuba has slapped a new customs tax on everyday goods shipped from overseas in a drive that experts say could weaken the economy and sap consumption.

What’s this? Taxes weaken economies and sap consumption (which drives the US economy)? Who knew?

Apparently, that only applies to countries other than the United States.

The levy took effect Monday and is payable in foreign currency. It targets goods imported by private citizens, often self-employed people who have started up businesses as part of timid reforms undertaken by the communist government in 2011.

What’s this? A tax on small businesses?

Carmen Arias, deputy director of the customs service, said the taxes are "a way to counter this non-commercial means of personal enrichment."

The Communists in Cuba are punishing "personal enrichment"? How progressive of them.

In Cuba, where the economy is 90 percent controlled by the state, hundreds of packages and parcels arrive every day, sent by exiled Cubans to their families back home or brought in by travelers who make a profit by reselling the merchandise.

Under the new measure, merchandise is taxed at the rate of 10 dollars a kilo [2.2 pounds] after the first three kilos. Foodstuffs — exempted from such taxes after hurricanes hit Cuba in 2008 — are also taxed now.

Lest we forget, in his infinite wisdom Mr. Obama has seen fit to reduce the restrictions on Cuba. So the goods that Cuban-Americans can now send back to Cuba will enrich the Communist regime of the Castro brothers. What a coincidence, huh?

By the way, that $10 tax on 2 pounds of goods is more than half the average Cuban income for a month. (See below.)

That’s bad news for privately owned restaurants which, in the absence of a wholesale market in Cuba, relied on such shipments for products they cannot find within Cuba.

The average Cuban earns less than 20 dollars a month…

"It is true that goods sent from overseas have often replaced the local market, to the detriment of the state and its stores, which are poorly supplied or empty", said Cuban journalist Giselle Morales.

But most of the beneficiaries of this kind of parallel trade are "workers or retirees, whose needs exiled relatives try to meet with shipments of goods that most Cubans receive with relief," Morales says.

Let them eat … whatever the Spanish word for ‘cake’ is. After all, paying higher taxes is patriotic.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, September 5th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Cuba Slaps Tax On Goods Sent Home By Exiles”

  1. electraglide says:

    Why are they taxing stuff by weight?
    Wouldn’t it make more sense to tax according to value?
    It’s like a brick costs as much as a six-pack of caviar.

    On second thought, maybe everybody should start shipping huge blocks of Styrofoam down there. For forty bucks people could build a decent raft.

  2. Astravogel says:

    They’re just taking an idea from our Democrats.

  3. take_no_prisoners says:

    I believe the spanish word for cake has been forgotten in the Cuban dialect–the cuban translation now reads: “Let them eat dirt!”

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