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A Dream is Born!

Somewhere around May 2012, a friend of mine drove across Havana to drop off a sack of books.  “They’re good, not great. I don’t have room for them.” Who has room in their life for good, not great, books? Not my friend, nor me. But as I looked at that yellow bag of books month after month, an idea began to brew: what if Havana had an English-language bookstore and coffeehouse where Cubans and visitors of all types could sit in a hammock with a current magazine or classic book, sip a delicious cappuccino and make new friends? 

And so Cuba Libro was born. Two years on, we’re very proud of the community we’ve built around great coffee and literature, ethical and social responsible business practices, a varied cultural events schedule, an organic farm share, donation projects and more.  Please feel free to get in touch to learn more or check out our 2-year evaluation and roundup.

Mission

Cuba Libro, a coffeehouse and English-language bookstore, is an ethically- and socially-responsible cultural center dedicated to building, strengthening, and supporting the Havana community in which it operates.

Through a variety of services, cultural activities, and literary- and educational-related initiatives that are accessible to Cubans and visitors regardless of age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or financial resources, Cuba Libro serves as an example of socially-responsible business in Cuba’s emerging private economy.

Sharing our experience and know-how, we help other businesses and entities flourish while fulfilling social missions and commitments to the surrounding community – a critical component in Cuba’s evolving economy if the country’s social justice achievements are to be retained and fortified moving forward.

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Vision

Cuba Libro is a coffeehouse and English-language bookstore providing a prototype of socially- and ethically-responsible business in Cuba’s emerging economy. Through free cultural programming, high-quality literature, outreach and a variety of services designed to improve the health and well-being of our community, we are helping strengthen the social safety net.

Cuba Libro serves as a beacon of social entrepreneurship  by supporting and building on Cuba’s social justice and humanistic achievements realized over the past 50+ years. With policies and practices based on a philosophy of accessibility, equity, equality, and good cheer, Cuba Libro aims to provide a model for socially-responsible business in Cuba, with a specific goal of helping others replicate this model.

Founding principles include:

  • Cuba Libro will be accessible to all, regardless of national origin, race, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation or financial resources;
  • Cultural events will be free and open to the public;
  • Cuba Libro staff will earn a dignified salary and a share of the profits; they are guaranteed non-discriminatory hiring and firing practices, and healthy, comfortable working conditions;
  • Community outreach through educational initiatives, donations, cultural events, solidarity and consultation with our neighbors and community will inform all our of our policies and practices;
  • Core values at Cuba Libro – treating others fairly and with respect, honesty, transparency, understanding, and compassion will be emphasized and demonstrated at every available opportunity;
  • Promoting environmental stewardship and protection;
  • Supporting Cuban youth through skill-sharing, job opportunities, active consultation on decision-making and continuing education to help younger Cubans envision a future in Cuba, rather than on foreign shores;
  • Advocating and implementing a collective decision-making model;
  • Cooperation among many, rather than the control and direction of a few, to achieve excellence, will be used as both a means and end; and
  • Cuba Libro is an alcohol- and reggueton-free zone;

By pooling resources, energy, and ideas, Cuba Libro sets the course forward to a better, brighter, and healthier future for the country and its people. Through teamwork exemplified and motivated by all sectors – individuals, public, private, local and international – we are confident we can help build a stronger, more resilient society.

In 2015, a small, but dedicated group of supporters founded Friends of Cuba Libro, a 501(c)3 organization incorporated in New York, to support our cultural and educational outreach. In our first year, we started supporting two projects: home support for Cuban families with members suffering degenerative neurological diseases and independent media production; we're proud of the results of our first 100% Cuban-conceived, written, directed and produced short, The ISA Sessions I.