California group raises funds for Cuban coop guide

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coop guide coverCUBA STANDARD — In a joint U.S.-Cuban grassroots effort, a private group from California is raising funds to publish a guide for the fast-growing cooperative sector in Cuba.

As part of its economic reforms, the Cuban government is planning to transfer most state-owned retail assets to cooperatives. More than 5,000 coops are currently operating on the island, and hundreds more will be added in the next couple of years, particularly in cities.

“Right now, a crucial experiment is underway to see whether urban cooperatives can fill a widening employment gap, whether they can expand vital customer services, and whether they will help distribute wealth equitably, while decentralizing enterprise management and control,” the group behind the effort says.

“Over time, cooperatives will become a backbone of Cuba’s emerging, increasingly decentralized economy,” said Eric Leenson, president of California-based Sol Economics and one of the promoters of the project. “I can think of no better way for ‘people-to-people collaboration’ to bolster the likelihood of its success than by contributing to grassroots, educational formation.”

The Introductory Guide to Cooperatives in Cuba is written by Cubans for Cubans. On 62 pages, the manual provides information for establishing, operating and managing cooperatives in Cuba. Its authors are recognized as leading coop advocates, some of whom advise the Cuban government in this area.

Donations for printing and dissemination of the guide can be made at www.venturesfoundation.org; mark “Latin American Social Justice Fund”.

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