San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Raul Castro: Cuba Has Too Many Rules

HAVANA – Acting President Raul Castro said at the year-end session of Cuba’s parliament that the communist-ruled island has too many rules and regulations.

“We agree with those who have warned about the excess of prohibitions and legal measures, which do more harm than good,” he told lawmakers.

Referring to the structural reforms he has advocated, the provisional leader vowed to act as quickly as possible to ensure that “land and resources are in the hands of those who are capable of producing with efficiency.”

Raul, who stepped in 16 months ago when older brother Fidel Castro was stricken with a serious intestinal illness, devoted much of his address to reflecting on the results of the debate he invited about Cuba’s problems.

The 81-year-old Fidel endorsed his sibling’s speech in a message read to lawmakers.

Raul said it was also necessary to “eliminate the harmful tendency to triumphalism and complacency” and to “forge consensus” about how best to go about satisfying the aspirations of the Cuban people.

In that vein, he said it was up to Cuba’s leaders to create an environment in which ordinary citizens can “express themselves with absolute freedom.”

“The challenges ahead of us are enormous, but no one doubts the firm conviction expressed by our people that only socialism is capable of overcoming the difficulties and of preserving the victories of nearly half a century of revolution,” Raul said.


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