HAVANA TIMES – The Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) announced a series of “financial guidelines” at a time of recession in the country, which grew the first half of 2016 by one percent of the GDP, half the expected, state television reported this afternoon.
The new document acknowledges “the objective existence of market relations” but keeps the centralized economy as the government’s guiding principle.
The final version of the 274 agreements updates the guidelines approved by the PCC in 2011. It continues the prohibition of “the concentration of property and wealth.”
Among the proposals, the text states the intention to improve the internet service on the island “gradually, as permitted by economic possibilities.”
Last month the then Economy Minister Marino Murillo, announced that the country was experiencing a time of economic recession. He said that overall energy consumption would be reduced by 6 percent, the most savings coming in state enterprises and public administration so as not to affect the residential sector.
Raul Castro’s presidency has been characterized by promoting a series of legal reforms that have allowed the growth of small businesses, especially self-employment in the service sector, although it has maintained the prevalence of the state in most areas of the economy.
Last April the VII Congress of the PCC discussed the legal recognition of the small and medium business sector beyond self-employment, but so far the Cuban government has not posted legal reforms for that to become a reality.
In the Communist conclave, Raul Castro defended the state enterprises as the “economic engine” of the economy. At the same time he recognized the increase in self-employment.
Castro told the 1,000 Communist delegates that the rise of small private business was not a “restoration of capitalism” on the island. However, there are still many within government sectors that have a strong reluctance against any changes in what was a totally centralized State economy.