Cuba Moves to Face 2009 Finance Woes

HAVANA TIMES, December 29. – Cuban President Raul Castro said Saturday that to cope with the current financial situation the country must “act with realism and adjust our dreams to the real possibilities.” He called for austerity measures and a cut in heavily subsidized products. In alerting the population to the dilemma, Mr. Castro mentioned the US $10 billion in damage to housing, electricity and other infrastructure and agriculture from the three major hurricanes that hit Cuba in 2008, and the sharp US $907 million increase paid over the year for foodstuff imports. He also noted the dramatic drop in Cuban export revenues for leading products, like nickel which fell 41 percent in 2008. On the bright side he said that tourism was holding its own with over 2.3 million visitors.