Faced with new US sanctions, Cuba takes extraordinary measures

Campaign News | Tuesday, 11 May 2004

Sales of most goods in dollars to be suspended

Havana, May 11 (Prensa Latina) In the face of the recent brutal sanctions against Cuba to suffocate the economy, announced by the US government, Cuba is taking new extraordinary internal measures, chiefly administrative, according to a statement put oput on May 10.

The government statement underlines "the country will mobilize the resources necessary to confront this aggression with the minimal sacrifice from the population," and announced several austerity measures that would affect the everyday life of Cubans, without announcing the date of implementation.

The set of measures includes suspension of sales in stores offering products in dollars, with the exception of food and items for personal cleanliness.

"The brutality of the measures taken by the US government will unfortunately increase prices in the store chains offering products in US dollars and in gas stations," the statement warns.

The statement makes it clear that this price hike will not compensate for the current high price of food, its transportation costs in the world market, nor the almost inaccessible price of oil.

The government said it will give priority to guaranteeing goods and services to all the Cuban people, without exception.

The government also informed it will not change the regulated and subsidized prices of products assigned to all citizens, nor will not affect health care, cultural and educational programs, including snacks and meals for students.

The statement affirmed that unemployment will remain under 2.5 percent of the active labor force.

Exchange in the Cuban banking system will continue function with efficiency as usual, and the present exchange rates for the Cuban peso, convertible peso and the dollar will remain unchanged.

The banks will absolutely guarantee citizens? savings deposits and interest -in Cuban pesos, convertible pesos and US dollars.

Farmers markets, where farmers offer their products for supply and demand, and State-run agricultural markets will continue working under the present norms.

The mining industry will increase its nickel and cobalt production and will seek new sources of oil and gas in secure and researched sites using new extraction technologies to achieve self-sufficiency.

The government will give total priority to economic investments with rapid amortization and more benefits.

The agriculture ministry will promote more exports and production of food, making use of more animal-drawn equipment in an effort to save as much fuel as possible, using fewer imported item and encouraging the rational and optimal use of land previously used for sugarcane.

The communique called on the population and production and service companies to make maximum effort in creating all possible goods and services with quality and economy of resources.

"The fundamental task is to continue perfecting tactics, techniques, methods and principles of the `War of All the People` and continue raising the revolutionary, patriotic and socialist consciousness of our invencible people," the statement adds.

The Cuban government concludes that "we expect difficult days of work and sacrifice, but also glory and victory for our heroic country."

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