More belt-tightening in store for Cuba
Ray Sanchez | Direct from Havana
7:41 AM EDT, June 9, 2008
Despite rising expectations about improvements in their daily lives,
Cubans should prepare for more austerity, according to Cuban vice
president Carlos Lage.
"Due to the economic impact of rising fuel and food prices, and
practically everything we import some of the main investment projects
have been reduced and further reductions will be necessary," Lage said
in Sunday's Juventud Rebelde newspaper, without elaborating.
The socialist island imports about half of the fuel and food it needs.
"The country spent $1.47 billion last year to import 3.423 million tons
of food and to import the same amount this year at current prices will
cost $2.554 billion – a billion dollars mores," Lage said.
"The 158,000 barrels of oil per day that we consumed last year cost $8.7
million per day and this year costs 32 percent more, or $11.6 million
per day," he added.
Translation: more belt tightening at a time when citizens are looking
for President Raul Castro to deliver on his promise to improve the lives
of ordinary citizens.