Illustration by Carlos
HAVANA TIMES – As we have previously reported the Cuban government has announced a significant salary increase for State employees, the first one in many years. It is scheduled to take effect in August.
What at first glance sould bring joy, faces skepticism among many of those to benefit from the wage hike.
The main reason for disbelief being that when the economy was doing a little better the government said there was no way they could increase salaries until industrial and agricultural production increased, as the country strives to lower imports.
That increase has clearly not occurred so far. Imports of many basic consumer products have decreased, but from a lack of funds to pay for them, not because of increased national production.
Now with backing from Venezuela greatly reduced and Raul Castro himself recently predicting hard times to come, suddenly the government has found, or is printing, a considerable amount of currency to finance the wage increases.
President Diaz Canel tries to calm concerns by saying that price controls will be strictly enforced so that workers can enjoy their increased buying power. But many Cubans are skeptical if such price controls will be effective in a market plagued by shortages and a growing demand once more money is circulating.