Fidel Plants A Capitalist Seed

Taking a break from the crush of people buying avocados and squash from his stall in an open-air market on Havana's outskirts, Fausto Chvez, 46, explains his business. He pays seven workers 30 pesos a day for working his 61/2-hectare farm, and he must sell 80% of his crop to the state at low fixed prices. To sell the rest, he rents a stall from the government and pays a 5% tax in advance on his projected sales. On a good day, he takes in 11,000 pesos--worth $183 at the current black-market rate of 60 pesos to the dollar, or more than four times the average Cuban's annual salary. He changes his prices, scribbled on a chalkboard, according to customer demand and competition from other vendors.

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