Cuba has a socialist, state-controlled economy. Fundamentally, this means that the
government controls almost all the basic means of production and employs the
majority of the labor force. In recent years reforms have been implemented in or-
der to foster small, independent enterprise.
While the average Cuban does not have a lot of money, the state does provide for
everyone equally and basic needs are supplied to all citizens. The average
monthly salary is often stated as being approximately $30 per month, but this does
not take into account the host of free services and products provided by the gov-
ernment. Healthcare is free. Food staples are distributed freely, with additional por-
tions available at a nominal cost. Education is free. Government jobs are provided
to virtually anybody who wants to work. Utility bills such as telephone, electricity
and gas are all extremely cheap because of government subsidization. While
money is still necessary, it is perfectly possible to live comfortably with very little.
Despite this fact, most Cubans are hard working and take great pride in their per-
sonal and collective achievements.
Although still technically communist, the government has implemented a series of
progressive economic reforms in order to expand the private sector of the eco-
nomy. Most types of small business are permitted and private ownership and trans-
action in real estate and vehicles is permissible. Many regulations still harken back
to communist policies, but capitalism is a growing trend, especially in the large cit-
ies, and its growth is progressing relatively unimpeded.