This includes people who rent rooms in their homes and private restaurantowners, plus shops that sell everything from clothes to cellphone accessories. Cubans who have entered the small business world earn much more money than those who work for the Cuban state. Yet, there is a stark racial divide emerging in Cuban society, as the majority of small business owners are white. Donato Leon's difficulties shoring up money to get his business off the ground is a common strugglefor new business owners. However, securing early capital is an even greater problem if youre Afro Cuban than if youre white, says Alejandro de la Fuente, director of the Afro-Latin American Research Institute at Harvard University. As one of my collaborators in Cuba says, 'Dollars are white.' Most dollars arrive in Cuba through family remittances from the Cuban-American community in South Florida, and that community is overwhelmingly white, de la Fuente said. Another barrier to entry for Afro Cubans is real estate, de la Fuente said. Most Cuban small businesses are run out of a home. A storefront is likely the front porch. Yet, having a home in an area frequented by people with money is more often a luxury of white Cubans. Historically, and this predates the Cuban revolution, blacks were concentrated in the poorest areas of the city, de la Fuente said.
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