Cuba's government admits to 'errors' in economic reforms


Havana (AFP)

The Cuban government has admitted to "errors" in implementing the economic reforms that President Raul Castro ushered in seven years ago to revamp the island's Soviet-style economy, the state-run Granma newspaper said Tuesday.

The critique was delivered at a two day meeting of the Cuban Communist Party's Central Committee presided by Castro, who steps down as president next month after ten years in office.

Granma said Marino Murillo, the coordinator of the effort, told the committee the pace of reforms has slowed in part because of the complexity of the issues involved but also due to "errors in planning and control."

Castro introduced the reforms in 2011, opening the top-heavy, centralized economy to small private businesses and foreign investment.

The changes resulted in a burst of new activity in the first years, as Cubans opened restaurants and other small service-oriented businesses.

But as some Cubans accumulated wealth under the more liberal rules, Cuban authorities have looked on with disapproval, denouncing "illegal activities" in the private sector.

Granma said the Central Committee complained about the "lack of a tax-paying culture in the country" and that policies were being misinterpreted by the public.

It also approved new legal norms governing the activities of an estimated 580,000 private sector workers.

The committee concluded that the overhaul of the Cuban economic model should continue, but that state entities should be more involved and assume greater responsibility for the process.

The Granma account said all the reforms "are in the process of being reviewed," and that the priorities include a move to a single currency -- Cuba has two currencies -- and the drawing up of a national economic and social development plan through 2030.