Cuba Freezes Licenses For New Private Restaurants In Havana

Cuba is freezing new licenses for private restaurants in Havana as it struggles with the runaway success of one of the most important openings in the state-run economy.

Image: People eat at a private restaurant in Havana, Cuba
People eat at a private restaurant in Havana, Cuba October 13, 2016. Picture taken October 13, 2016. REUTERS/Enrique de la Osa ENRIQUE DE LA OSA / Reuters

The country was once famed for its dire state restaurants and cafeterias, but it's developed a vibrant dining scene since private restaurants were legalized two decades ago.

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However the private restaurateurs lack a wholesale market or legal way to import supplies and equipment. So they've been emptying the shelves of retail shops and buying other goods on the black market. That has led to rising food prices and shortages of goods for other Cubans.

Acting Vice President Isabel Hamze tells state media that Havana's provincial government is temporarily freezing the approval of new licenses and is inspecting restaurants to detect violations.

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