May 3, 2008

PETERLOO WHO?:

Computer-age comes to Cuba, but the real revolution is on the land (Rory Carroll, May 4 2008, The Observer)

It has been a week of announcements for Cubans from their new president Raúl Castro and on Friday shoppers gathered in Havana malls to gaze for the first time at computers legally on sale. The computers cost almost £400 and the average wage is under £10 a month, so most were just looking.

But it is the other, less flashy reforms that may bring a more profound impact - reforms intended to breathe life into Cuba's economy by giving farmers incentives and freedoms. At May Day celebrations the government announced it was shifting control from the ossified agriculture ministry to 169 local delegations. In a further assault on bureaucracy, it may abolish 104 unnecessary departments. [...]

The government has signalled a transfer of land to private farmers, who are quietly recognised to be far more productive than state-owned enterprises. The state, which controls 90 per cent of the economy, is to further loosen its grip by allowing farmers to buy supplies directly. It has also doubled and in some cases tripled the prices it pays for some produce.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 3, 2008 10:12 PM
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