Amid economic hardship, Cuba slashes US food and agriculture imports

Feb 10, 2010 Full story: CW11 New York WPIX-TV

Cuba has slashed food and agriculture imports from the United States - its largest food supplier despite decades of sour relations - as the communist government tightens its belt in the face of a crippling economic malaise.

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“HURT ME & MAKE ME STRONGER!”

Since: Nov 08

Where Freedom Dwells!

#1 Feb 10, 2010
Amid economic hardship, Cuba slashes US food and agriculture imports

PAUL HAVEN Associated Press Writer

4:32 PM EST, February 10, 2010
HAVANA (AP) Cuba has slashed food and agriculture imports from the United States its largest food supplier despite decades of sour relations as the communist government tightens its belt in the face of a severe crippling economic malaise.

Imports fell 26 percent in 2009 to $528 million, after peaking at $710 million the year before, according to a report Wednesday by the New York-based U.S.-Cuba Economic Trade Council, which provides nonpartisan commercial and economic information about the island and claims to have no position on policy.

"The decrease has nothing to do with U.S. regulations, U.S. law or U.S. policy," said John Kavulich, a senior policy analyst at the council. "It is a function of Cuba not having the resources."

Kavulich said Cuba has increasingly turned to other countries like Vietnam that will sell it much lower-quality food and not ask for payment for as long as two years.

Despite the half-century feud across the Straits of Florida, the United States is the largest seller of food to Cuba: Food and agriculture products have been exempted from the 48-year embargo since 2000.

The dictatorship controls well over 90 percent of the economy and heavily subsidizes all aspects of life while paying an average salary of about $20 a month. Cubans get free health care and education,though pharmacies are empty and bookstores have few books, and usually pay next-to-nothing for housing and utilities, though houses are in disrepair and power failures are the norm.

Havana has taken baby-steps toward changing that system, eliminating some staples from the ration book, dropping free lunches for workers at some state enterprises and trimming health and education spending, which though they are free, medications and educational materials are extremely scarce.

“HURT ME & MAKE ME STRONGER!”

Since: Nov 08

Where Freedom Dwells!

#2 Feb 10, 2010
Al castrismo le queda poco, le queda poco.....CUBANOS! Unanse a los disidentes, apoyenlos!
El tirano no puede contra un pueblo entero! No dejar que el mito, y el miedo los controle! Empiecen por no atender a los mitins, tener el valor de apoyar y defender a los disidentes, quejense de lo que no les gusta. DERROTEN a la dictadura, y tendran democracia y Libertad y una vida mas afluyente y con esperanzas de progresar y mejorar. Simplemente poquito ma poco empiecen a no cooperar con la dictadura, oponerse cuando les sea posible, y hacer todos los comentarios posibles en contra de la dictadura y apoyando a los heroicos y valientes disidentes. ADELANTE, Cubanos! Como dice Willy Chirino,'palante!

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WE JUST DONT CARE

Miami, FL

#3 Feb 11, 2010
OMG so Cubas self serving elite slash for the "little" people but increase for themselves.

Why this is same as Miami self serving Cuban politicians do but since they aren't named Castros its okay if they do it here.

"In March, three weeks after delivering a speech calling the current recession the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, Alvarez gave Chief of Staff Denis Morales an 11 percent pay raise, bringing his salary from $185,484 to $206,783. On the same day, he gave a 15 percent raise to his policy director, Robert Villar, bringing his salary from $95,779 to $109,879."

"The raises were backdated to Sept. 21, 2008, which meant each man also got a generous ``retroactive'' paycheck: Morales for $17,281, Villar for $9,747."

"Alvarez also gave a 26 percent raise to his senior advisor, Luis Gazitua, through a series of pay hikes ending in November 2008 that pushed his salary to $101,842."

"The moves come at a time when the unemployment rate has doubled, countless businesses and nonprofit organizations have been forced to freeze or cut pay, and the mayor's office has called for shared sacrifice among county employees."

"Alvarez is calling for a 5 percent pay cut for all county employees, laying off 1,700 workers and scaling-back services."

"The raises for the mayor's inner circle were the talk of the county Monday"

http://www.miamiherald.com/198/story/1198476....

“Hurt me, make me stronger!”

Since: Jul 08

Where Liberty Dwells

#4 Feb 11, 2010
M O J O N E R I A S !

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