- On Thursday October 1, the Cuban government will close workers’ cafeterias in four ministries and pay workers 15 pesos daily to buy their lunch. Granma explains that it costs $350 million per year to provide free lunches at 24,700 workplace cafeterias and the measure is being taken to achieve “economic rationality,” but it doesn’t estimate how much money will be saved. It notes that some ministries have large food inventories, and food from these stocks often ends up in the black market. The article explains that this initial action is “experimental,” and will later be extended throughout the country. The article, titled “Giving, more than taking away,” takes pains to assure readers that the action will be taken gradually and that ministries and enterprises cannot close cafeterias on their own; this can only be done when the Ministry of Economy says so. In the case of these four closings, it notes that various nearby state enterprises will be able to provide lunch and is silent on whether private entrepreneurs will play any role. AFP says this is likely to be “the biggest rollback of an entitlement since
’s 1959 revolution.” Cuba
- Comandante de la Revolucion and government minister Ramiro Valdes says Cubans need “to participate in the solution of their own problems and not wait for the daddy-state [papá Estado] to come solve them…Here everyone needs to work, everyone needs to contribute, everyone also needs to bring solutions, ideas.” Ok, but will the state allow people solve their own problems? Valdes made the remarks on a tour of
. El Nuevo Herald story here. Santiago
- Vietnam donates 3,000 tons of rice to
- Reuters: A Chinese company is entering a joint venture in
to build the “Hemingway Hotel” at the marina in western Cuba . Havana
- Granma airs some dirty laundry: Some state enterprises are not paying farmers for the produce they have delivered, even though they have the budget to do so. At the end of August, 2 million pesos were owed to farmers. “It is an immorality to make the producer think that the state does not have the will to pay him,” the article says. It goes on to list the municipalities where the problem exists, and suggests pretty clearly that heads will roll. Raul Castro’s first move in agriculture was to settle the state’s debts to farmers. AP story here.