Newest private sector occupation in Cuba: Dumpster Diver

The “reforms” of Cuban dictator Raul Castro are going swimmingly well! Thanks to the magnanimity of the island’s apartheid dictatorship, Cuba is changing before our eyes as more and more occupations in the private sector are being created. The latest private sector job to blossom from these wonderful “reforms” is sure to play a pivotal role in making Cuba a better place for everyone.

Via IPS News:

Private Initiative Finds Garbage Profitable in Cuba

A waste picker unloads empty soda cans at the San José de las Lajas recycling cooperative in Mayabeque province. Credit: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

HAVANA, Oct 23 2013 (IPS) – As self-employment and cooperatives expand in socialist Cuba, they are making incursions into new areas, such as waste picking and recycling – for many a means of subsistence, but for others, a gold mine.

“Pitusa” said the trash thrown out by the people of Havana is an inexhaustible source of useful materials. “I don’t waste anything – I collect, select, clean and keep for myself when I need it,” said this middle-aged Cuban who uses discarded components to fix windows or make “multi-functional” furniture.

“I’m 43 years old and I’ve been working in recycling for 19 years,” he told Tierramérica*, after asking to be identified merely as Pitusa, because he does not have a permit to be a self-employed worker or “cuentapropista”.

“I do so many different things that I wouldn’t know how to register and pay taxes,” he said, to justify his lack of a permit.

He said the garbage yielded everything from broken furniture to bottles, glass, plastic tubes, steel pipes, fishing reels, or old sofas, doors and windows. “Nothing is completely useless, although to make a new piece of furniture from a piece of junk isn’t easy. For me it’s an artistic thing to give a use to something that was abandoned and no one wants anymore,” he said, with a touch of pride.

Pitusa is a “buzo”, as waste pickers who salvage reusable or recyclable materials are known in Cuba.

“At this time there are 5,800 recoverers with cuentapropista permits, but we know that there are many more who aren’t registered,” said Marilyn Ramos, assistant director general of the Unión de Empresas de Recuperación de Materias Primas (UERMP) – the state association of companies that salvage raw materials, which recycles scavenged trash.

Continue reading HERE.

Ed. Note: Buzo is the Spanish word for diver.

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