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Cuban Parliament Approves State Budget
Cuban deputies approved the Guidelines of the Economic and Social Plan and the 2008 State Budget Act.

After a 2007 of resistance, achievements and disappointments, Cubans deserve a happy new year marking the 50th anniversary of their Revolution, said Raúl Castro. He projected that this coming year will be one in which essential challenges and inefficiencies will be responded to with systematic action, organization and controls to increase the productivity and to use resources rationally - all with the consent of the nations overwhelming majority.

The speech by Castro coincides with healthy changes underway to sweep away the accumulated difficulties and obstacles, which were presented in the light of an inventory of the multifaceted complexities of 2007. These were discussed in relation to both the American governments paranoiac efforts to suffocate the Cuban Revolution and the lucidity of a people who resist backtracking on their history, as an unusual process of discussion unfolded around the countrys own errors and mistakes.

Issues dealt with included the economic management of the country in 2007 as well as the projection of the plan for a 2008 budget that redistributes wealth as justly as possible. This discourse could not ignore of the adverse international environment, in which there have been increased imperial hostility and efforts to isolate Cuba; the effects of the world crisis, which are felt in the importation of basic goods; and continuing environmental assaults that are wreaking havoc on the climate.

Ricardo Alarcón, president of the parliament, affirmed that in confronting the unprecedented degree of American hostility that appears to be approaching this coming year, the election of provincial delegates and deputies to the Cuban National Assembly must be a process that demonstrates national unity, giving a clear and firm sign that people truly support the socialist system on the island.

The Cuban economy reached a rate of growth of 7.5 percent in 2007, said José Luis Rodríguez, who is responsible for that sector. This figure, he explained, is below the expected 10 percent rate due to the effects of poor weather conditions on construction and the agriculture, as well as delays in the importation of consumer goods.

Nonetheless, and even amid those complex conditions, Cuba finished in fifth place among Latin American countries and its economy is projected to grow by 8 percent this coming year.

That increase will be supported by a state budget that will dedicate more than half of the countrys financial resources "55 percent" "to the maintenance and consolidation of transformations will be implemented in the education, health, culture and sports sectors," affirmed Georgina Barreiro, minister of Finance and Prices.

According to Osvaldo Martínez, the head of the parliaments Commission on Economic Matters, "2007 was a complex combination of astonishing resistance in the face of obstacles that would be crushing for a people that didnt possess the history and leadership of ours. The true achievements were demonstrated within an ongoing struggle - as well as deficiencies, disappointments and delays, which were only partly due to the blockade and in some cases had nothing at all to do with it."


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