News and Facts about Cuba

Reforms by Raul Castro in Cuba – update

FACTBOX-Reforms by in Cuba
Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:04pm EDT

April 10 (Reuters) – In the six weeks since he succeeded his ailing
brother , Cuba's new leader Raul Castro has introduced a
series of reforms to improve life in the communist Caribbean island state.

Following are some steps taken so far, as Castro moves to lift what he
calls "excessive prohibitions:"

* Lifted ban on Cubans buying consumer goods such as computers, DVD
players, microwave ovens and other electronic appliances previously
prohibited due to an energy crisis.

* Cubans can now stay at hotels and beach resorts previously reserved
for foreigners only, ending a " apartheid" that was a source of

* As of April 14, Cubans will be allowed to freely buy and use cellular
telephones, something that had been available only to government
officials and foreign companies.

* Decentralized to allow private farmers more leeway to
decide how to use their land, what crops to plant and what supplies to
buy. Farmers granted leases to unused land.

* Reduced bureaucracy for filling medical prescriptions and began
revamping the family doctor program in response to complaints it was

* Removed ceiling on wages to create incentives for workers and improve
Cuba's economic performance.

* Additional reforms are expected to include allowing Cubans to buy and
sell their cars and easing restrictions on abroad.

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