They have been around since humankind began the despicable and vile practice of slavery thousands of years ago; slaves who defend their masters and show gratitude for any leniency extended to them, however minuscule or meaningless. Although these types of slaves are the minority, if you look long and hard enough, you will eventually find them.
Reuters embarked on such a search in Cuba. And in a small town 400 miles away from Havana, they found a Cuban slave owned by the Castro brothers willing to show deference and gratitude to his slave masters for “allowing” him to open a restaurant and turn over a big chunk of his earnings to his owners:
As his business has grown, Mayedo has added eight full-time employees to help operate it.
The biggest challenge has been training a workforce that is disciplined and pays attention to details, he said.
Mayedo said he has had no serious problems with the government, is grateful for the reforms underway and believes they are here to stay.
“I thank them for giving us the opportunity to demonstrate to ourselves that we are capable of doing this well,” he said.
“No state can subsidize an entire population, it is impossible. Furthermore, we provide jobs, pay taxes and help the economy in a big way.”
Mayedo doubted he would become a millionaire any time soon because, despite the reforms, there are still limits.
“The system is designed to allow us to keep living, not become rich. But yes, my life will keep improving,” he said.
In a land where everyone worked for the state and there was no income tax until recently, one is now being levied on hundreds of thousands of small businesses and farms that have appeared due to Raul Castro’s reforms.
Mayedo said his aunt was preparing his first income tax return even as he spoke.
Now that was something to worry about at a sliding scale of up to 50 percent of earnings, Mayedo admitted, but better to pay 50 percent of earnings than no tax on no earnings at all, he said with a shrug.