HAVANA – The Cuban government ordered the closing of private 3D movie theaters, which have proliferated on the island over the past year, at the same time that it imposed a deadline to do away with autonomous businesses selling clothing and other imported items.
The Council of Ministers said in a decision made public on Saturday that 3D theaters and computer game rooms “have never been authorized.”
The council also said that the retail selling of imported items, including numerous private clothing sales businesses that have sprung up all over the island, is illegal, as it had announced last September.
In recent years, after the government of Raul Castro broadened the private sector in 2008, 3D theaters, which have been established mainly in Havana, and businesses selling clothing, shoes and imported accessories, have proliferated despite the fact that no specific licenses exist to allow people to engage in those activities to make a profit.
The prohibition on selling clothing and other imported articles was announced in September and has sparked clear discomfort among the many private merchants in that sector, who complain that the activity has been tolerated for more than two years.
The government is undertaking a process of “notifying” people who are self-employed to clarify for them the regulations and the scope of the activities in which they may engage, the Council of Ministers said.
“These measures are necessary corrections to continue arranging this type of activity, combating impunity, demanding compliance with the law and protecting the self-employed workers, the immense majority of whom are complying with the established regulations,” the council said.