President Castro confirms new period of austerity

11 July 2016
Issue number 878

President Castro has told Cubans that the country must cut its spending and energy use in order to address a lack of liquidity and reduced oil imports from Venezuela.

Speaking on July 8 to the mid-year session of the Cuban National Assembly, he said that Cuban economic growth had slowed to 1% in the first half of 2016 compared with 4.7% over the same period in 2015.

He acknowledged that “rumours and forecasts of an imminent collapse of our economy, with a return to the acute phase of the Special Period” had begun to appear (Cuba Briefing July 4, 2015). He sought, however, to reassure the Cuban people that the country will not return to a similar period of crisis or the deep austerity that it experienced during the special period in peacetime that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, when Cuba lost its special trading relationships with the former Soviet bloc nations.

No doubt mindful of concern in the country about this new economic setback at a time of growing national frustration about the speed of economic growth and limited personal opportunity, President Castro was reported by Granma to have insisted there was no room for “improvisation or defeatism.”

“To victoriously overcome a conjuncture like the one we are facing, requires acting with energy, equanimity, rationality and political sensitivity, tightening up coordination between the Party and the government, and above all, with much optimism and confidence in the present and future of the Revolution,” he was quoted by Granma as saying.

“We don’t deny some challenges may arise, even bigger than the ones we are now facing, but we are ready and in a better condition than back then,” he observed.

President Castro said…

This is an extract from the Caribbean Council’s weekly Cuba Briefing, a leading publication that provides detailed and accurate news on economic, social and political developments inside Cuba to corporate interests with a long term economic relationship with the island.

The publication is available internationally on a subscription-only basis for those in business, government and the academic world who wish to understand on a weekly basis developments relating to Cuba.

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