Informacion economica sobre Cuba

Cuba says will ease state's role in economy
Sun Aug 1, 2010 2:42pm EDT

* Cuban minister: Cuba "updating" not reforming economy
* State "doesn't have to be in charge of everything"
* Says no to markets, private property, market socialism
By Nelson Acosta

HAVANA, Aug 1 (Reuters) – The Cuban government plans to reduce its role
in small businesses, but continue to direct a centralized economy that
eschews markets and private property, a Cuban official said on Sunday.

Economy Minister Marino Murillo said the communist-led island is
"updating," not reforming its fragile economy and does not plan to copy
the market socialism of China or Vietnam.

"We are of the opinion that today the state has a group of activities it
must get out of. The state doesn't have to be in charge of everything,"
he told reporters at a meeting of the National Assembly.

"The state has to be in charge of the economy, of the most important
things," Murillo said.

He cited the example of small barber shops, where barbers have been
allowed for several months to lease their chairs and charge their own
prices, within limits, instead of having the state run the entire

That kind of change "must be extended to other services," Murillo said.

Cuba has been in the grips of an economic crisis the past two years that
has forced it to cut imports, freeze the Cuban bank accounts of foreign
businesses on the island and hold off on paying its bills.

Murillo said the Cuban government is looking at ways to modernize the
island's economy, but that "one cannot speak of reform."

"It's an updating of the economic model where the economic categories of
socialism, not the market, will take priority," he said.

"It lightens a group of things of the economic model, but we are not
going to hand over property," Murillo said.

The government, which controls 90 percent of the economy, owns most
things on the Caribbean island.


When Raul Castro replaced older brother Fidel Castro as president in
2008, there were expectations of change in one of the world's last
communist economies.

Many thought that Raul Castro was less of a communist ideologue than his
brother and would move toward opening the economy as communist-run China
and Vietnam have done.

Many Cubans have said they are anxious for changes that will allow them
to make more money.

They receive social benefits such as free medical care and subsidized
food rations, but the average monthly salary is equivalent to $18.

Raul Castro, 79, has tweaked the system with such things as allowing
barbers and taxi drivers to function more like small businesses, but
thus far avoided major changes.

When asked by reporters about the possibility Chinese or
Vietnamese-style changes, Murillo said, "I think the Cuban model is a
very Cuban model. We cannot copy what many people in the world do."

"We can't forget that the most powerful country in the world is our
enemy," he said, referring to the United States.

The United States and Cuba have had hostile relations since the 1959
Cuban revolution that put Fidel Castro in power and transformed the
island into a communist state.

The United States has maintained a trade embargo against Cuba for 48
years, which the Cuban government blames for many of its economic woes.

Raul Castro was set to speak later in the day to the National Assembly

Fidel Castro, 83, is a member of the assembly, but did not attend
Sunday's session. His chair, which is next to his brothers, has been
empty since he fell ill in July 2006.

(Editing by Jeff Franks and Eric Beech)

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