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Cuba congress to revisit political & economic policies


04-15-2016 14:40 BJT

Cuba will hold its seventh Communist Party Congress on Saturday. It only meets every five years and is the key policy making body which will determine Cuba's future economic and political course.

Norge Zamora is a private builder who puts together teams for each project. He would like the upcoming Communist Party Congress to enact further reforms allowing him to register his own construction company and to import building materials directly from abroad.

After the last Communist Party Congress in 2011, Cubans were able to become self-employed and set up very small businesses or co-operatives. They can also buy and sell homes and cars and travel abroad without permission.

This time, though, some Party members are concerned about the lack of information about what further economic reforms are being considered.

The Party Congress comes just a month after U.S. President Barack Obama's historic visit to Cuba which raised expectations that renewed relations could help improve people's lives.  

Former leader Fidel Castro was highly critical of the visit, a move seen by some as a rallying cry against further free market reforms.

Yet, Cuba's economy is struggling. Average wages remain less than 25 dollars a month. Much of its industry is outdated, and the country hasn't attracted the billions of dollars in foreign investment it says it needs.

The fact that so little is known about what is being planned for the Seventh Communist Party Congress suggests that, for the first time, there could be divisions at the top over where Cuba wants to go from here.

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