San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Revolutionary tales

Cuba sees 'major role' for foreign investment

HAVANA, Cuba – Cuba plans to open its economy to greater foreign investment under a new law to be taken up soon by its legislature, a report in state-run media said Saturday.

Outside investment no longer would be merely a “complement” to Cuba’s state-run economy but “would occupy a major role” under the proposed law, said Pedro San Jorge, a top official at Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment.

The national assembly is take up the bill in March as part of an ongoing overhaul of Cuba’s Soviet-style economy under President Raúl Castro.

San Jorge, who heads the ministry’s economic policy office, said it envisions among other things a role for foreign investment in agriculture, which he said was unusual.

His remarks were published in Cuba’s Opciones weekly newspaper.

A 1995 law mandates that foreign capital should play only a complementary role in Cuba’s economy, including providing funds and technological know-how to enterprises run by the Cuban state.

San Jorge said that the planned changes reflect the “current circumstances” faced by Cuba, which has been struggling to get out from under an inefficient, top heavy, state-run industrial apparatus.

Castro last month called an extraordinary session of the assembly in March to approve the bill.

He said that the measure opening up the economy to outside investment seeks to attract greater foreign capital, generate new jobs and bolster domestic industry.

Castro said he also wants to increase Cuba’s exports and reduce its dependence on goods purchased from overseas.

“You have to strengthen the country’s capacity to generate many of the products that we currently import,” the Cuban leader said.

The island of some 11.1 million people has seen some significant changes since 2011.

The reforms have covered everything from the currency system to the kinds of jobs Cubans are permitted to take on as self-employed workers.

Castro also has created hundreds of cooperatives from former state enterprises, in a bid to reduce the legions of state workers who get a government paycheck.

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Ginger Firestone

I think I take exception to your remarks Juulian. Yes, the USA is still a capitalist society, but slowly turning to socialist (much to it’s demise). Now, as to food stamps, etc – well, if we kicked all the illegals out of our country, we’d have a great deal less people relying on our social programs to help the poor. We’d also clear our emergency rooms of most patients. Our classrooms would not be crowded, the road would not be crowded and gas prices would go down as there would be less demand. This is but a few of the problems of having illegals gaining access to those programs for citizens of the USA. Personally I’ve left the USA for the reason of our government becoming socialist when I was born to a republic/democracy style of government. We all need to go where we are comfortable. And, so what if Bill Gates makes so much money. He has earned it. He also employs thousands of workers. He also has set up charities and gives generously. You condemn without knowing all the facts. Why shouldn’t someone who works for his dream not have it fulfilled? He earned, not inherited his wealth and even if he inherited, it would be his right. I am not in his league and will never be so. I am not desirous of earning that much, nor do I really care to have that responsibility. I am retired and comfortable. Of course I’d like more, most of us would, but it sounds more like jealousy than morality from the tone of your comment.

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Juulian Bakker

In my view, the people of USA are currently, under the excesses of the capitalistic system, suffering more than the Cubans ever did. Is it one third or one quarter of US population which EVERY DAY needs food coupons in order to survive and not starve from hunger? And did Mr Bill Gates last year increase his wealth by approx. 12 billion US dollars?

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This is equivalent to crying, “mercy”, for the Castros. You’d think it would take less than 55 years to realize that a political system based on repressing free will just doesn’t work. I think it took them less time, but their hard headed egos outweighed their common sense until now. Hopefully the Cuban people recover at some point, however long that may be. What they have been made to suffer so far is horrendous.

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