Energy Cuts, Less Growth

HAVANA TIMES, May 24 — Cuba is not immune to the world economic crisis and the government has announced adjustments for coping, including a reduction in energy consumption and planning for an economy with less growth.

The government announced over the weekend a plan to reduce electricity consumption in the large public sector by 12 percent in the second semester of 2009. It has also begun a massive media campaign to ask the general population to conserve, hinting that a failure to do so could lead to programmed cuts in service.

With several of Cuba’s exports, led by nickel, bringing in far less revenue than last year, as well as uncertainty over the effect that economic crisis abroad could have on the still strong tourist industry, the island’s Minister of Economy and Planning, Marino Murillo, said the country’s economic growth in 2009 will drop to under three percent, down from 4.3 percent in 2008 despite three devastating hurricanes.