Cuba releases new economic plan that reminds previous one

Cuba releases new economic plan that reminds previous oneCuba's ruling Communist Party on Tuesday released new guidelines of economic policy for the next five years.

The 275-point social and economic plan is extremely similar to one Cuba adopted in 2011, which called for decentralization of its state-run economy, support for some small business, recognition of market forces and the need for more foreign investment.

The plan has no new domestic initiatives although it upgraded foreign investment to "an important source for the country's development" and "fundamental in certain sectors."

The guidelines "recognize the objective existence of market relationships." But they also restate Cuba's commitment to a centrally planned economy.

The document says that concentration of property and wealth will not be permitted. Centralized planning and a state monopoly on the means of production lead off the new guidelines, as they did previous ones.

Economist Andrew Zimbalist, a Cuba expert at Smith College in the United States, said he was not surprised the "new plan is old and if anything appears to be a mild retreat from liberalization of the economy."

He also emphasized that detente with the United States and the economic crisis in Venezuela made Cuba's leaders feel more vulnerable.
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