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Cuba 2007

Cubans have made tremendous efforts to leave behind the crisis that hit the island in the l990s. But though its impact is still felt on the country's economy and services, there is a continuing upward trend that is reflected in a steadily rising Gross Domestic Product.

Cubans began the new year with huge parties in all the country's main cities and towns, in which the nation's top musical groups performed.

Celebrations for the 48th anniversary of the triumph of the Revolution and the start of 2007 were even more significant considering the strong performance of the economy last year.

A growth rate of 12,5 percent, was a reflection of excellent results obtained in the nickel industry, a slight reanimation of the sugar industry and a rise in the exportation of services, mostly medical, among other favorable indicators.

But the government insists that savings and increased work productivity are the most important tools required to leave behind forever the crisis that began in the l990s and to insure that good results continue throughout 2007.

Along with reports of plans to raise the collective standard of living, Cuban leaders stress that efficiency and work discipline must immediately improve

They insist that energy saving measures implemented last year to increase fuel and electricity savings must remain in place.

It is clear that the country is in much better shape this year to face the nation's energy demands after the government set up groups of smaller electrical generation plants that run on diesel and fuel oil.

But the efficiency of the new generators cannot be allowed to deteriorate, especially if the price of oil continues at record highs, sometimes spiraling to more than 60 dollars a barrel.

There is no other alternative but to save in every area. In that context, it is imperative to know exactly how oil much is used and what can be done to reduce such use.

Efforts this year are to proceed on two fronts; in addition to continuing energy saving programs, there are plans to build 70 thousand homes, increase food production and deal with the transportation crisis.

With continued savings and elevated work efficiency, Cubans will be on the road to greater prosperity.


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