FACTBOX-Reforms by Raul Castro in Cuba
Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:04pm EDT
April 10 (Reuters) – In the six weeks since he succeeded his ailing
brother Fidel Castro, Cuba's new leader Raul Castro has introduced a
series of reforms to improve life in the communist Caribbean island state.
Following are some steps taken so far, as Castro moves to lift what he
calls "excessive prohibitions:"
* Lifted ban on Cubans buying consumer goods such as computers, DVD
players, microwave ovens and other electronic appliances previously
prohibited due to an energy crisis.
* Cubans can now stay at hotels and beach resorts previously reserved
for foreigners only, ending a "tourism apartheid" that was a source of
* As of April 14, Cubans will be allowed to freely buy and use cellular
telephones, something that had been available only to government
officials and foreign companies.
* Decentralized agriculture to allow private farmers more leeway to
decide how to use their land, what crops to plant and what supplies to
buy. Farmers granted leases to unused land.
* Reduced bureaucracy for filling medical prescriptions and began
revamping the family doctor program in response to complaints it was
* Removed ceiling on wages to create incentives for workers and improve
Cuba's economic performance.
* Additional reforms are expected to include allowing Cubans to buy and
sell their cars and easing restrictions on travel abroad.