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Cuba Cuts Energy, Closes Up Factories

A couple of shocking developments from the ‘Workers Paradise.’

From a deeply disappointed Associated Press:

A worker weighs pumpkins before their sold in a government store in Havana, Thursday, July 30, 2009.

Cuba suspends plans for Communist Party congress

Cuba suspends Communist Party Congress; drops economic growth projections for year to 1.7 pct

Friday July 31, 2009

HAVANA (AP) — Cuba has suspended plans for a Communist Party congress and dropped economic growth projections in 2009 by nearly a full percentage point to 1.7 percent as the island’s economy struggles through a "very serious" crisis.

In a meeting of the Communist Party Central Committee, officials agreed to postpone indefinitely the first party congress since 1997, which had been announced for late this year, the Communist Party daily Granma reported Friday.

The gathering was to chart Cuba’s political future long after President Raul Castro and his brother Fidel are gone.

Instead, top communists will try to pull their country back from the economic brink.

Cuba revised expected growth down from 2.5 percent to 1.7 percent but counts state spending on free health care and social services in that figure.

They are trying to pull their country back from the economic brink?

Just imagine how panicked they would be if they actually had a recession, two consecutive quarters of economic contraction – instead of an allegedly still expanding (1.7% growth) economy.

And yet there is still more, also from the Associated Press:

Cuba shuts factories, cuts energy to save economy

By WILL WEISSERT (AP)

HAVANA — It’s hard to find a spare tire in Cuba these days, or a cup of yoghurt.

Air conditioners are shut off in the dead heat. Factories close at peak hours, and workers go without their government-subsidized lunches.

Cuba has ordered austere energy savings this summer, and the secretive Council of Ministers and Communist Party Central Committee met this week to consider more cuts to cope with budget deficits and plummeting export profits.

The communist government imposed conservation measures even as it continues to get free oil for services from Venezuela, fueling rumors that Cuba is selling President Hugo Chavez’s crude on the side to raise cash

The latest cuts are small compared with strict measures imposed during the so-called special period, when Cubans nearly starved after subsidies dried up with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Nor are they as severe as the blackouts of 2004, when technical problems at power plants left much of the island in the dark for hours at a time. Fans and water pumps were idled. Milk and food spoiled, while electrical surges damaged refrigerators, televisions and other costly appliances.

Still, every bit of belt-tightening stings in a country where almost everyone works for the state and average wages are less than $20 per month…

The company’s oil production on the island was down 19 percent last quarter compared to the second quarter of 2008, mainly because Sherritt suspended drilling earlier this year when Cuba fell behind on its payments…

Beginning June 1, the government ordered energy conservation measures as part of a broader plan to cut the national budget by 6 percent. Central planners also revised their economic growth projections from 6 percent to 2.5 percent and could lower expectations even further.

These days, most countries would cheer any economic growth. But Cuba counts what it spends on free health care and education, monthly food rations and other social programs as production — making economic growth figures dubious.

The island’s economic woes began in earnest with three hurricanes last summer that caused more than $10 billion in damage and wiped out some of the food and grains the government had stockpiled to insulate itself from rising commodities prices.

How much Cuba has spent on hurricane recovery is unclear. But Castro said the government has rebuilt or repaired 43 percent of the 260,000 homes damaged or lost in the storms.

Cuba consumed about 150,000 barrels of crude oil a day in 2008, of which 52,000 were produced domestically and 93,000 imported from Venezuela, said Jorge Pinon, an energy fellow at the University of Miami’s Center for Hemispheric Policy. Half is used to generate electricity, according to Cuba’s Ministry of Basic Resources

Workers at a tire factory in San Jose de las Lajas, a rugged farming town 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of Havana, said production is down and the factory goes dark when demand for electricity is high — leaving gas stations and mechanics short on spare tires.

In the central province of Cienfuegos, a large dairy that supplies ice cream and other products to much of the country and exports cheese has been ordered to cut production, according to the Communist Youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde. Yogurt is scarce in Havana — sold only in upscale grocery stores that cater to tourists and are too expensive for most Cubans.

Some government office workers say their hours have been cut to between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., and others are being told to come in only twice a week.

State companies also have stopped offering employees low-cost lunches in worker cafeterias to save power.

Other government offices, businesses, banks and stores have ordered air conditioners turned off for much of the day, rather than close early.

Customer service, never stellar in state-run institutions, has suffered even more. In the sweltering banks, barbershops and boutiques, listless employees are more interested in fanning themselves than serving sweating customers.

All of this is very confusing news.

The island’s economic woes began in earnest with three hurricanes last summer that caused more than $10 billion in damage and wiped out some of the food and grains the government had stockpiled to insulate itself from rising commodities prices.

How much Cuba has spent on hurricane recovery is unclear. But Castro said the government has rebuilt or repaired 43 percent of the 260,000 homes damaged or lost in the storms.

Weren’t we told by our media masters after Katrina that we needed to learn from Cuba about how to deal with hurricanes?

Moreover, Cuba has socialized medicine. They have a planned economy. Cuba is regularly ranked as one of the ‘greenest countries’ on the planet.

And no less an economic expert than Mr. Obama has assured us that socializing medicine and creating a command economy with ‘green jobs’ will save America.

So how is it possible that Cuba is not an economic titan?

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, July 31st, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

8 Responses to “Cuba Cuts Energy, Closes Up Factories”

  1. Phil says:

    The caption for the picture up top of this story: A worker weighs pumpkins before their sold in a government store in Havana, Thursday, July 30, 2009.

    Can they not afford a proofreader? Their sold? Grammar just aint what it used to be.

    • pianogirl88 says:

      The proofreaders would have to know the difference between “their” and “they’re”, and I’m not sure they are that highly educated. Most of the time they don’t know the difference between truth and semi-truth, made up to suit their political purpose.

    • MinnesotaRush says:

      Great point, pianogirl!

  2. MinnesotaRush says:

    OSHA better get over there! Methinks there are a few violations in the pumpkin weighing room.

    • Liberals Demise says:

      1) There is a 100 watt bulb burning where it should be a 60 watt bulb
      2) Methinks those pumpkins are really squash or gourds!

  3. jobeth says:

    If you have a few hours to kill, if you haven’t already done this…Go to Google earth and view Cuba via the 360 degree photos and remember this is what has thrilled Michael Moore and the lefties.

    Havana is a real eyeopener. The graceful old buildings are flaking from neglect and the stores are routinely exactly like the photo in this story.

    It’s pitiful and makes you really wonder what in the heck is wrong with the thought processes of the MSM and the left who are holding this country up as something to aspire to.

    It will keep you fighting for what we know is right here in America.

  4. canary says:

    He’d use a bigger scale, but this is the small scale used to give so many ounces of pumpkin per family per month. Not one ounce over the limit allowed.


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