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Catholic Church Launches Business Classes To Help Entrepreneurs After Cuba's Economic Reforms

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In this photo taken Feb. 24, 2012, a man walks past the cathedral in Cuba's eastern city of Santiago de Cuba; the first stop in Pope Benedict?s XVI March 26-28 visit. For his first visit to Spanish-speaking Latin America, Benedict has chosen the region's most Roman Catholic country; Mexico, and its least, Cuba; where churches are mostly empty and until the 1990s, believers were barred from the Communist Party. (AP Photo/Ismael Francisco, Cubadebate) | AP

HAVANA -- HAVANA (AP) — Cuba's Catholic Church says it has launched classes aimed at training aspiring entrepreneurs to open and run small businesses permitted by the country's new program of economic reforms.

The Havana Archdiocese said in its official magazine that it is running three-month workshops and a two-year degree program taught by clergy members on the basics of private business, including sourcing of materials, accounting and tax regulations.

The Catholic Church has been barred from participation in the Communist-run nation's system of universal free education, despite requests that it be allowed to run schools as it does in other countries.

In 2010, President Raul Castro began opening Cuba's economy to limited forms of private enterprise, including sections of the real-estate and automobile markets.

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