Cuba Designs US Economic Pressure Resistance Plan – LA TRIBUNA

HAVANA – The Cuban Parliament on Friday drew up an economic plan to resist in 2020 the tightening of the US embargo that makes it difficult to provide fuel and carry out indispensable financial transactions.

With these obstacles, the program plans to close 2019 with a growth of 0.5% of its GDP and projects 1% by 2020, Economy Minister Alejandro Gil told AFP.

One of the measures for 2020 is to save energy consumption, Gil told deputies of the National Assembly.

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Cuba produces only 32% of the fuel it consumes, and that it uses in power generation. 68% must be imported, which has been complicated by the sanctions imposed by Washington and preventing it from securing a fluid supply of oil.

As part of that plan, Cuba, which imports most of the inputs it consumes, will seek to improve its well-off state-owned company to meet domestic and tourism demand, as well as diversify its exports.

Also foster links with the private sector of the economy, which represents 13% of the country's workforce.

Another objective will be to reduce your indebtedness, at a time when it is difficult to meet all of your creditors. "We haven't gotten out of hand," said Minister Gil.

The Trump administration applied more than 180 measures to increase the blockade that the United States has maintained on the island since 1962, and among them the strongest is the pressures on companies and tankers, so that they do not transfer oil to Cuba.

That restriction, in force since last April, caused damage to “public transport, agriculture, food production and distribution, as well as having an impact on the temporary stoppage of some investments and the slowdown of others,” said Gil.

The United States justifies these measures by accusing Havana of military support to its Venezuelan ally Nicolás Maduro and of oppressing its people, accusations that Cuba denies.

Internal lock:

But that resistance that the government proposes to the Parliament, goes through the breakdown of bureaucratic obstacles and the immobility that prevents the implementation of the reforms approved by the ruling Communist Party (PCC, unique) for eight years, a closure that Cubans call « internal block ».

It is a program of economic reforms to "update the economic model" of a Soviet court that still persists on the island.

On Thursday afternoon, a plenary session of the Central Committee of the PCC was held, where its leader, Raúl Castro, said that "we can resist whatever comes, but for this we must be prepared," according to the official note of the meeting.

Marino Murillo, responsible for the implementation of the reforms, said that the difficult economic situation "cannot become a factor to slow down these processes (reforms)"

"On the contrary, it requires a greater impulse to update the economic and social model to eliminate the obstacles that still persist in the development of productive forces and efficiency," he added.

Withdrawal of the historical:

The same annual session of Parliament, perhaps on Saturday, should appoint a prime minister – a position that has not existed since 1976 – at the proposal of Díaz-Canel.

Conceived as the right hand of the president, the new prime minister will be the head of the government, (Council of Ministers), which will also be restructured on this parliamentary day, where there may be ratifications and changes.

But Parliament also meets after the announcement of the PCC, that its VII Congress will be from April 16 to 19, 2021.

In April 2018, Raúl Castro announced that this congress will mark his retirement from political life, which also means the departure of the octogenarians who accompanied Fidel and Raúl Castro since the fight that led to the victory of 1959.

A signal from that line drawn can leave this parliamentary session. Commander Ramiro Valdés, 87 years old, the last of the hard core of the historical ones that remains in the government, can be ratified or replaced as vice president of the Council of Ministers. (AFP)

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