Sunday, July 29, 2007

Cuba's interim leader says he will seek foreign investment

Posted on Thu, Jul. 26, 2007

Cuba's interim leader says he will seek foreign investment
The Washington Post

CAMAGUEY, Cuba | Interim President Raul Castro announced Thursday that
his government would seek to open Cuba to more foreign investment, the
clearest indication yet of his plans for ruling the nation.

Castro's ailing brother, Fidel Castro, did not appear at an event
commemorating the opening shots of the Cuban Revolution in 1953, raising
more questions about the state of his health.

But his name was invoked repeatedly, both by his younger brother and by
tens of thousands who gathered in Camaguey, a central Cuban city,
chanting "Viva Fidel" and waving small Cuban flags.

Thursday was the first anniversary of Fidel Castro's last public
appearances. He spoke last year in the cities of Bayamo and Holguin to
commemorate his raid on the Moncada Barracks 54 years ago.

Raul Castro said Thursday that his government was studying ways to
increase foreign investment without "repeating the mistakes of the
past," a reference to the oft-heard complaint that U.S. and other
foreign companies dominated Cuba before the 1959 victory of Castro's forces.

Castro said that business alliances would be sought with "serious
entrepreneurs, upon well-defined legal bases which preserve the role of
the state and the predominance of socialist property." Cuba, he said,
wants investment "of the kind that can provide us with capital,
technology or markets."

Five days after Fidel Castro's last public appearance, he underwent the
first of several surgeries, temporarily relinquished power and
disappeared from public view.

In last year's speeches, "we could hardly even suspect what a hard blow
was awaiting us," Raul Castro said in the opening line of his one-hour
speech Thursday.

The younger Castro gave no specifics about his brother's condition but
said that "he is taking on more and more intense and highly valuable
activities, as evidenced by his reflections, which are published in the

In recent months, Fidel Castro has written more than two dozen
editorials for the Communist Party newspapers, Granma and Juventud
Rebelde. In those pieces, he mocked President Bush's European visit,
saying that the "tyrant visited Tirana," and he railed about using corn
for ethanol rather than food.

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