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Cuba lowers reform expectations

Cuba lowers reform expectations

has given his most sombre assessment of Cuba's
economic situation since he succeeded his brother Fidel in February.

In a televised address before the assembly, Mr Castro said he would have
to lift restrictions on salaries more slowly than anticipated.

He said key reforms could be affected by global rises in and oil
prices.

Raul Castro, 77, has raised hopes for change by taking steps to
modernise Cuba's ailing state-run .

Reforms have included removing salary caps to boost incentives for
workers, and decentralising of to increase food production.

But in his address, Mr Castro said quick action in raising salaries may
not be possible.

He said: "It will depend on the economic situation of the country,
inevitably linked to crisis in the world today, which could worsen.

"It wouldn't be ethical to create false expectations."

Raul Castro sat beside an empty seat reserved for the former president,
who has not been seen in public since undergoing emergency surgery
nearly two years ago.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas/7503099.stm

Published: 2008/07/12 01:39:53 GMT

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