Informacion economica sobre Cuba

Wednesday, March 2nd 2011 – 07:00 UTC

Cuban reforms delayed: who and how do you sacks half a million state

Cuba's plans to lay off half a million state workers by the end of March
are behind schedule, President Raul Castro has acknowledged. Castro,
quoted by state television, said the timetable for the cuts would be
altered to soften their impact.

The redundancies form part of plans to revive Cuba's struggling economy,
an issue due to be discussed at a rare Communist Party Congress in
April. The Cuban government currently employs about 85% of the official

President Castro, addressing a joint meeting of his cabinet and the
Council of State, said given the lay-offs were behind schedule, the
timeline would be adjusted, state television reported.

"A job of this magnitude which will affect so many citizens in one way
or another cannot be marked by inflexible timetables," the report quoted
him as saying.

President Castro did not give a new target date for the planned
redundancies, saying only that the overhaul of the economy would take at
least five years. He again insisted that the reforms would "leave nobody

Last September, Mr Castro announced plans to lay off about a million
state employees – about a fifth of the workforce – with half the jobs
going by 31 March.

This would have been just three weeks before the first congress of the
ruling Communist Party in 14 years.

Thousands of committees have been set up across the island to decide
which jobs to eliminate and discuss the planned changes to the economy.
According to state TV, the economy minister, Marino Murillo, said some
seven million Cubans had taken part in a total of nearly 130,000 such

But resistance among those supposed to implementing the cuts has clearly
had an effect.

As well as lay-offs, the Cuban government has been taking steps to ease
some restrictions on private enterprise, allowing Cubans to apply for
licences to run their own businesses, rent out rooms and in some case
hire workers. Farmers have also been leased land, seeds and fertilizers
in a desperate effort to boost crops and cut the huge Cuban food bill of
imports mostly from the US.

President Castro has said that the reforms are vital to overhauling the
economy, which is burdened by debt, costly social programs and
government intervention in all aspects of the economy, and after decades
of mismanagement a lack of work discipline in the bureaucracy and among
the new generations.

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