The President of the Cuban Councils of State and Ministers, Army General Raul Castro, described the ongoing update of the Cuban Economic Model as positive as he said that the process is giving firm steps into major issues.
In his closing speech of the 10th Session of the Cuban National Assembly of People’s Power, Raul Castro said that all actions relevant to this process are aimed at developing a sustainable and prosperous socialist society, which is the only guarantee for the survival of the Revolution.
Raul evaluated different production areas in 2012 and he acknowledged increasing results if compared to last year, as well as the favorable growing trend of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
However, he said, there are still problems that have prevailed for many years and he pointed to the lack of integrity in investment projects due to weak preparation, delays in the delivery of necessary resources, low productivity and lack of labor.
These factors lead to the failure of meeting timetables, the postponement of projects, with an impact on the economy. He stressed the need to do away with lack of action, superficiality and improvisation prevailing in most investment processes.
The head of state stressed the positive balance between the average salary growth and productivity, the increase of oil and gas production and the progressive reduction of the foreign debt on the basis of honoring compromises, which allows recovering the international credibility of Cuban economy.
Raul Castro described the country’s expected 3.7 economic growth for 2013 as acceptable, bearing in mind the context imposed by the continuous global economic crisis, the stiffening of the US economic blockade, the restrictions to access financial markets and the price increase of food and oil, among other unfavorable factors.
The Cuban President referred to the most recent decrees issued to favor economic efficiency, production increase and the reduction of imports, whose prices continue to grow at the world market.
He mentioned the new Tax Law, the implementation of new methodological measures aimed at setting wholesale and retail prices, the experimental project setting up cooperatives and the testing of modern techniques in entrepreneurial management in order to increase efficiency.
All these aspects, he said, require a mindset change, which is a battle also progressing, and which has contributed to the current training system of leaders and executives.
Raul acknowledged the recent Population and Housing Census, which he described as a very significant event for the long-term development of the country.
He also recognized the efforts by Cuban citizens in the provinces of Holguin, Guantanamo and Santiago de Cuba, who were able to face the consequences of hurricane Sandy, after the storm inflicted huge material damage.
The First Secretary of Cuba’s Communist Party also acknowledged the fruitful work of the Cuban Parliament during its Seventh Legislature. He stressed the work carried out during the elections of municipal government delegates and the massive turnout of the people.
After pointing out that Cuba will never renounce its rights to self-defense, independence and self-determination, and just few weeks before US President Barack Obama takes office, Raul Castro reiterated the Cuban government’s willingness to hold a respectful dialog with Washington on all bilateral issues, and on equal grounds.
Cuba maintains its offers to cooperate in issues of bilateral interest for the two countries, he said.
He called for the end of the long-standing and unfair incarceration in the United States of Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez and Antonio Guerrero, and the arbitrary separation of Rene Gonzalez from his family, after he met a long prison sentence.
Raul Castro recalled that the international community demanded for 21 years in a row the end of the US economic, commercial and financial blockade of the island and he said that the US President has the constitutional powers to give important steps in this direction.
Last October, the Cuban Revolution issued new migration regulations that lifted restrictions, eliminated or simplified procedures, which has had a positive impact on the people, particularly on the Cuban emigration. Such steps and reactions take place despite the traditional hostility towards Cuba by the Miami-based mafia, the treacherous media campaigns and the encouragement of illegal and unsafe departures from the island.
Cuba will continue to prudently and discretely support the ongoing Colombian peace process, said Raul and he also welcomed the UN General Assembly decision to accept Palestine as an observer member.
Raul Castro stressed the courage and honesty of President Hugo Chavez when he announced his new and delicate surgery in Cuba. At this crucial time for Venezuela and Our America, we will stand by President Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution, which he is leading by will of his united and revolutionary people, said Raul.
After recalling that just a few days are left to mark the beginning of the 55 anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, the Cuban President reiterated the Cuban people’s determination to face the future challenges.