Cuban economic crisis is so serious and says “Save or Die” the Only Alternatives

EFE:

The Cuban economic crisis is so serious that the editor of the Communist Party daily Granma called it one of “save or die.”

“In the words of Central Bank President Francisco Soberon, the gravity of the problem before us is of such a nature that if politically we say ‘homeland or death,’ without an ounce of exaggeration we can say in the economic field ‘save or die,’ Lazaro Barredo said in an article.

Official media have warned Cubans in recent weeks of a deepening of the chronic poverty they have suffered since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, which had generously subsidized the communist regime in Havana.

The deputy minister of economy and planning, Julio Vazquez, warned on May 15 of the risk of a new period of power cuts in Cuba due to the world economic crisis and the island’s tendency to use too much fuel.

Cubans have suffered several prolonged periods of power cuts in the past decade, in some cases up to 10 hours a day.

“The nation demands a reduction of spending to avoid mortgaging ourselves,” Granma’s Barredo wrote in editorial.

Cuba’s already deteriorated economy has shriveled even more over the past year due to repercussions from the world financial crisis, three hurricanes in 2008 that caused losses of $10 billion, the drop in exports and the increase in the cost of imports.

In a previous article, the editor asked people “to look more towards the land” and change the agricultural practices on the island, which imports more than 80 percent of the food consumed by its 11.2 million inhabitants, even as half of Cuba’s arable land lies idle.

“A friend involved in that subject told me that our great paradox is that we have developed first-world science and yet have fourth-world agricultural output,” Barredo said.

State-run retailer Cimex warned Thursday that the remittances sent by Cuban-Americans to their families on the island are declining this year.

Cimex chief Eduardo Bencomo said Cuba has yet to see any impact from U.S. President Barack Obama’s elimination of restrictions on Cuban-Americans’ travel and remittances to the island and a slight easing of Washington’s 47-year-old embargo on trade with Cuba.

Bencomo acknowledged that there are some payments in arrears to foreign suppliers, but added that the Cuban government “will keep paying.”

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