Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Last Updated: September 01. 2010 1:00AM...

Cuba issues free-market reform

Decrees allow land leases, islanders to sell own produce

Will Weisser / Associated Press

Havana -- Cuba has issued a pair of surprising free-market decrees, allowing foreign investors to lease government land for up to 99 years -- potentially touching off a golf-course building boom -- and loosening state controls on commerce to let islanders grow and sell their own fruit and vegetables.
The moves, published into law in the Official Gazette last week and effective immediately, are significant steps as President Raul Castro promises to scale back the communist state's control of the economy while attempting to generate new revenue.
"These are part of the opening that the government wants to make given the country's situation," said Oscar Espinosa Chepe, a state-trained economist who is now an anti-communist dissident.
 Mariela Castro (2nd L), head of Cuba's National Center for Sex Education and daughter of Cuba's President Raul Castro, walks with other participants and transvestites during an event to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia in Havana in this May 16, 2009 file photo. Fidel Castro took the blame for a wave of homophobia launched by his revolutionary government in the 1960s, but said it happened because he was distracted by other problems, in an interview published on August 31, 2010 in a Mexican newspaper.… Read more »
File photo of Mariela Castro in Havana

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