Monday, April 18, 2011

Cuba: Castro pledges political, economic reforms

This weekend marked the fiftieth anniversary of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and it was commemorated with a military parade in Havana. The future was also a very important theme this weekend among Cuban leaders, however, as president Raul Castro introduced reforms including ten-year term limits for the country’s politicos:

Castro’s term-limits were one of over 300 proposals introduced by the 79-year-old president during the Communist Party conference. He suggested the elimination of the island’s ubiquitous rationing books, which he deemed “a disincentive for work.” He also proposed introducing supply and demand to some areas of the economy and also claimed that the government is analyzing whether to legalize the sale of cars and homes.

In his lengthy speech at the summit Castro said that he stopped short of backing some changes including the concentration of property in private hands. He emphasized that "there will never be room for shock therapy" in Cuba.

Castro’s proposed reforms, which are expected to be backed by 1000 delegates at the congress, have received mixed reactions from Cubans. “What they are doing is this -- winning time to stay in power. This is a cancer that is now in its final stages,” said Laura Pollan, leader of the Ladies in White dissidents group, to Reuters.

Video Source – euronews via YouTube
Online Sources-, The Guardian, Reuters, USA TODAY

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