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Cuba will remain socialist
Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro says the Caribbean Island will remain socialist amid calls by the West to ratchet up its reform process.

Fidel blasted the West on Sunday for the ongoing world financial crisis.

"We are not a developed capitalist country in crisis, whose leaders are going crazy today looking for solutions amid depression, inflation, the lack of markets and unemployment; we are and should remain socialists," the 82-year-old former president said in a published commentary, EFE news agency reported on Monday.

"The production and distribution of food and construction materials, I reiterate, have an absolute priority at this time," Castro said, referring to the recent damage that the island sustained from two hurricanes.

Recent comments by some Western experts suggest that Cuba is going to suffer further from the global financial crisis following two devastating hurricanes that left thousands of people homeless and inflicted a minimum of $5 billion on the Island, according to the government statistics. This, expert said, would speed up the pace of reforms in the country.

"Plans to strengthen the economy suffered a serious setback (from the storms), but the situation may force the government to open up further to individual initiative and foreign investment," a Cuban economist said on condition of anonymity.

Promising reforms, Fidel's younger brother, Raul, officially took over the island's leadership in February.

Raul instituted several early reforms, such as freeing up the sale of computers and cell phones, but the promise of change was swiftly replaced by austerity measures as the rising costs of fuel and food imports depleted foreign reserves.

Now, with many people living in roofless homes, Raul Castro may no longer have the luxury of time to implement change. "This is a before and after situation that will impact everyone and policy," said another Cuban economist.
29 Oct 2008 by admin
The Havana Journal

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