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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Private restaurants prove successful, so Cuban government cracks down on them

Private restaurants prove successful, so Cuban government cracks down on
them
Published October 18, 2016 EFE

HAVANA, CUBA - MARCH 8: A man waits for customers at a restaurant March
8, 2003 in Havana, Cuba. Supporters to end the U.S. travel ban to Cuba
in the U.S. Congress have said they think they can pass legislation
within 2003. Supporters also say an easing of restrictions could
generate over a billion dollars in revenue for U.S. businesses within
five years. (Photo by Jorge Rey/Getty Images) (2003 GETTY IMAGES)
HAVANA (EFE) – Cuba's private restaurants, better known as "paladares"
(palates), are being watched closely these days by the Castro
government, which has temporarily suspended the concession of licenses
because of alleged rule violations in a booming sector that perfectly
represents the island's new economy.

"There has been powerful growth in a very short time and for the
government, it's gotten out of hand," the owner of a famous Havana
restaurant told EFE, adding that like other eatery owners he awaits a
feared inspection by the authorities sometime during the coming weeks.

In Cuba, where lacking official confirmation, rumors are readily
accepted, the alarm spread over the past few days among private
restaurants, and soon afterwards their owners were called to meet with
government officials.

There they were told that no new licenses will be issued for private
restaurants in the capital, after which a series of strict inspections
began to see which of those in business were obeying the rules: seating
for no more than 50 diners, staying open only during the established
hours, and the use of only those products purchased and billed by state
suppliers.

"The situation is very clear," the owner of one of the first "paladares"
told EFE, while asking to remain anonymous.

The entrepreneurs of gastronomy, waiting for the feared inspections,
spiraled into a paranoia that included hiding any products not acquired
through official channels and revising their menus to include only
dishes for whose ingredients they possessed an invoice.

Bottles of premium liquors brought in a suitcase to Cuba, exotic
ingredients and the famous lobsters, almost impossible to purchase
legally and usually bought directly from fishermen, these days are kept
under lock and key until things hopefully get back to normal.

The current licenses issued only for restaurants and cafeterias have led
to nighttime bars being slipped into these categories.

Some of these have already been shut down, though no government source
has yet confirmed this.

Source: Private restaurants prove successful, so Cuban government cracks
down on them | Fox News Latino -
http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2016/10/18/will-success-cuba-private-restaurants-kill-them/
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