Raúl Castro

Raúl Castro Tests the Waters of Capitalism

July 25, 2008 02:44 PM
by Isabel Cowles
Raúl Castro has made economic and social reforms since becoming Cuban president in 2008, indicating a move toward capitalism.

30-Second Summary

Since taking office in February of 2008, Raúl Castro has relaxed many of Cuba’s strict economic regulations.

In addition to allowing Cuban citizens to own cell phones, computers and microwaves, Castro has increased freedom for independent farmers and has considered negotiations with Texas cattle and cotton farmers.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, “Free-market reforms within a socialist system, like the kind embraced by China, had been rejected by Fidel Castro, who ruled for a half century.” Raúl Castro’s recent reforms are signs that he “may orchestrate a move toward a more capitalist economy.”

Other indications of Castro’s commitment to loosening the government’s control over Cuban economy and society came in a speech he delivered on July 11 to Cuba’s parliament: “Socialism means social justice and equality, but equality of rights, of opportunities, not of income. Equality is not egalitarianism.”

Despite the apparent economic reforms, many Cubans remain skeptical over how much change will ultimately occur. Said one Cuban citizen who supports his family by selling cigars on the black market, “I studied to be an engineer, but if I worked in that field my family would starve. We’ll believe in change when we can have a dignified life from our salaries.”

Headline Link: Raúl Castro continues easing economic restrictions

Background: Tracing Raúl’s economic reforms

Key Players: Raúl and Fidel Castro

Historical Context: Raúl’s reputation as ‘the practical Castro’

Opinion & Analysis: Cubans have mixed reactions to reforms


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