Cuba Needs 5 Years to Reform Economy, Raul Castro Says
HAVANA – The economic reforms now under way in Cuba will take at least
five years to be fully implemented, President Raul Castro said,
acknowledging a delay in the planned elimination of 500,000 positions at
Gen. Castro made the statement last week at an expanded meeting of the
Council of Ministers, state television reported late Monday.
At the meeting the president said that the plan of economic adjustments
should not be applied hurriedly or in an improvised manner because the
possibility of mistakes in its implementation constitutes the "biggest
threat" to the revolution.
"The updating of our (economic) model is not the work of one day or even
of one year, and because of its complexity it requires no less than five
years to fully carry out its implementation," the news report said,
Regarding the slimming of state payrolls, he said that this measure
"does not constitute an end in itself but is rather a means for
recovering the efficiency and discipline in the workers' collectives
under the principle of demonstrated suitability and the greatest right."
He also said that this is a measure that cannot be locked into
"inflexible periods of time," acknowledged that the launching of the
process has been delayed and insisted that the Cuban government "will
leave no one unprotected."
Also analyzed at the meeting of the Cuban Council of Ministers was the
process of popular debate of the Project of Guidelines for the Economic
and Social Policy of the Party and the Revolution, as the plan of
reforms is known that will be ratified at the 6th Congress of the ruling
Communist Party, set for the second half of April.
More than 7 million Cubans have taken part in the almost 130,000
assemblies held to discuss the plan, according to figures released on
The Raul Castro government is pushing an economic overhaul in an attempt
to overcome the crisis that Cuba has been suffering for decades.
Among the most important measures are the layoffs in the state sector
and the expansion of self-employment and small business.