MULES: Meaning depends on the country

For most paying attention to issues in Latin America the term “mule” means some one smuggling drugs. This person usually carries a couple of kilos on (or in) his/her body and gets a fist full of cash once the delivery is made.

But in Cuba, a mule is some one who brings in things needed to survive as changes slowly take place in that country’s economy.

And in its usual style, the government of Cuba gives (freedom to open a store or restaurant) with one hand; and takes away (the ability to get anything to sell in that store or restaurant) with another.

So, the fledgling entrepreneurs in Cuba rely on items brought into the country in people’s suitcases.

The Self-Employed and the “Mules”

This story has a couple of links to journalism and the world.

  1. The Cuban government is taking away — through its new regulations — the ability to receive small items from family members in the States. (That becomes a local story with an international angle.)
  2. The new rules are making it difficult for any new, non-state-owned business to get off the ground. (That makes it an international economic story.)
  3. The difficulty in getting new small businesses going means that the reforms promised by the Castro brothers is more talk than action. (That makes it an international political story.)
  4. And, finally, all the above actions have an impact on how the U.S. Congress reacts to Cuba, thanks to the massive Cuba lobby (mostly) in Florida. (That makes it a U.S. domestic story.)

Put all these items together and you have a political-economic story out of Cuba with direct Main Street links to the United States, with a human interest (small businesses trying to get started) angle.

Maybe the Miami Herald do the story. Will anyone pick it up?


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Filed under Cuba, Story Ideas, Trade

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