Sunday, April 20, 2008

Odds and ends

  • Two stories from AFP: The White House says the changes in Cuba are “cosmetic;” while Admiral James Stavridis, head of the U.S. Southern Command, says, “I think it is too early to tell as yet, but it is interesting that Raul is opening some of the economic freedoms such as cellphones, access to tourist hotels, property rights. We need to watch to see if this is a sincere change or just cosmetic.”

  • Cuba’s minister of basic industries says that the Repsol-led consortium will drill again in Cuba’s Gulf waters in 2009, Reuters reports. Previously, the new drilling had been slated for this year. Repsol last drilled in 2004.

  • There are many reasons why the Cuban government is trying to improve the agricultural sector. One is to substitute national production for expensive imports. See this item from the Economist, showing that since January 2007, the price of rice is up more than 250 percent, and corn and wheat are up more than 150 percent.

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