The media

The most absurdly oblivious headline you’ll read all year

Matt Cover

, Rare Staff

Posted on

If there was an award for the most oblivious headline written all year, this Associated Press story would most likely win.

In a piece on Cuba’s failed experiment with “limited” free-market capitalism — whatever that is – AP published a story with the following headline: “Lack of customers dooms many Cuban businesses.”

From AP:

The Associated Press recently checked in with nine small business owners whose fortunes it first reported on in 2011 as they set up shop amid the excitement of President Raul Castro’s surprising embrace of some free enterprise.

Among them were restaurant and cafeteria owners, a seamstress and taekwondo instructor, a vendor of bootleg DVDs and a woman renting her rooms out to well-heeled tourists.

Their fates tell a story of divided fortunes.

Of the six ventures that relied on revenue from cash-strapped islanders, four are now out of business, their owners in more dire financial straits than when they started. But the three enterprises that cater to well-heeled foreigners, and to the minority of well-paid Cubans who work for foreign businesses, are still going and in some cases thriving.

While the sample size is small, the numbers point to a basic problem that economists who follow Cuba have noted from the start: There simply isn’t enough money to support a thriving private sector on an island where salaries average $20 a month.

“Clearly, there is a macroeconomic environment that does not favor the private sector or the expansion of demand that the private sector requires,” said Pavel Vidal, a former Cuban Central Bank economist.

No kidding. The “macroeconomic environment” that strangles Cuba’s attempt at a private sector is call Communism and it’s been Cuba’s system-of-choice since the Castros took power in 1959.

What on Earth motivated the AP to write such a ridiculous headline blaming a “lack of customers” instead of Cuba’s repressive communist dictatorship is anyone’s guess, but it’s got to be the most oblivious headline written this year.

Matt Cover

Matt Cover is content editor for Rare. Follow him on Twitter @MattCover

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