Monday, December 21, 2009

Raul Castro dampens hopes of economic reform in Cuba

Raul Castro dampens hopes of economic reform in Cuba
Posted : Mon, 21 Dec 2009 05:09:57 GMT
By : dpa

Havanna - Cuban President Raul Castro has dampened hopes of rapid
economic improvement through reforms. Cuba is to continue "updating its
economic model," Castro said Sunday at the close of the National
Assembly's winter session, but he said there could be no improvization
or hurry.

"It is right to move in the direction of the future but with a sure and
safe step because we simply don't have the right to make a mistake,"
Castro said.

Raul Castro, 78, took over the provisional leadership of the country in
the summer of 2006 from his 83-year-old brother, Fidel Castro, who was
seriously ill at the time.

When Raul Castro was officially appointed head of state and government
in February 2008, he gave Cubans hope of small-scale economic reforms
after nearly half a century of a communist planned economy.

The Cuban government had blamed a delay in the reforms on the world
economic crisis and a series of hurricanes that did extensive damage in
Cuba in the summer of 2008.

Also on Sunday, the National Assembly appointed two new vice presidents
to the Council of State, which Raul Castro chairs.

Veteran revolutionary Ramiro Valdes, 77, was a comrade of the Castro
brothers during their fight against the Batista dictatorship in the
1950s. Gladys Bejerano, 62, has since last summer been the head of an
anti-corruption body tasked with combatting graft in state institutions.

The two new appointees are to replace Juan Almeida, who died in
September, and the reformist Carlos Lage, who has fallen into disfavour.

Raul Castro dampens hopes of economic reform in Cuba : Business (21
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