Havana, Cuba (CNN) -- Cubans will be allowed to work for themselves in 178 activities in the private sector and even hire employees, according to guidelines published Friday as the communist government moves quickly to shed half a million state jobs and provide alternatives for workers.
Cubans will be permitted to be self-employed carpenters, restaurateurs, barbers and even salsa dancers. Many of the categories already existed, but the government hadn't granted new licenses for years, which meant that the total number of self-employed people in Cuba's 5.1 million-strong workforce was just 143,000.
The new list of occupations published in state media includes seven new categories, among them accountants and bathroom attendants.
It also says that for the first time in decades, these private entrepreneurs will be allowed to hire nonrelatives and access credit.
Is this the first step in the capitalization of our offshore neighbor? Is Raul Castro learning a lesson from Premier Hu?