Raul Castro wants "free discussion" on economic reform in Cuba
Aug 1, 2011, 15:37 GMT
Havana/Mexico-City – Cuban President Raul Castro asked for 'free
discussion' as the country's lawmakers on Monday began to debate
important economic reforms.
Castro addressed the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party
(PCC) Sunday, on the eve of a summer session of the National Assembly,
the communist state's parliament.
The government last year embarked on a programme to introduce
unprecedented reforms for the ailing state-run economy, allowing a
growing portion of private enterprise.
'Castro emphasized that any discrepancies that exist will be studied
before being ruled out, so as to guarantee free discussion,' Cuban state
media reported Monday on Castro's meeting with the PCC.
He reportedly insisted on the importance of 'changing working methods'
that are outdated and prevent mistakes from being corrected, the media said.
'We cannot allow misunderstandings of any kind to hinder the huge task
ahead of us,' Castro was quoted as saying.
The island nation's state-directed economy has been in a state of
decline, although the reform's goal is to preserve the socialist system
introduced by President Castro's older brother, Fidel, shortly after a
The reforms have to be approved by the 600-member National Assembly,
which meets only twice a year for a few days.
In 2010, Raul Castro initially announced changes to the socialist system
and admitted that the command economy would not be able to stem the
system's decline. As a central measure, more than 1 million employees of
the unproductive state sector are to lose their jobs.
Raul Castro has led Cuba for five years, after his brother stepped down
on July 31, 2006 for health reasons.