Monday, May 01, 2006

Castro: Cuba economy up 11.2 pct. in 1Q

Business Week Online

Havana (AP) MAY 1 11:04 A.M. EST President Fidel Castro said Monday that Cuba's economy grew 11.2 percent in the first quarter of this year as trade and cooperation grows with Venezuela, an increasingly important ally.

It was not immediately clear what criteria Castro was using to arrive at the growth estimate, which appeared to be a comparison with the first quarter of 2005.

Cuba in recent years has begun using its own new methodology for calculating economic growth that takes into account the country's vast social safety net and subsidized services.


That makes Cuba's growth figures difficult to compare with those of other countries, prompting the United Nation's Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean to leave the island's numbers out of its report last year.

Cuba announced late last year that it had turned a corner in its recovery from serve financial crisis and reported 11.8 percent growth for 2005.

In making last year's announcement, Economics Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez said the Caribbean nation had fully recovered from the "special period" of the early to mid-1990s when austerity measures were adopted to survive a crushing economic crisis caused by the Soviet Union's collapse.

At the time, the economics minister also projected economic growth of 10 percent for 2006.

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Wow! The zealots in Miami must be running to the nearest farmacia to buy an extra bottle of Maalox.

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