Cuban economist predicts growth
HAVANA -- (AP) -- Cuba is not facing an economic crisis despite
a slump in tourism following the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States
and a recent weakening of its
currency, says Cuba's top economic planner.
Rather, the Cuban economy is expected to grow 4 percent this year,
slightly less than the 5 percent earlier projected, said Vice President
Carlos Lage, the architect of
modest economic reforms over the last decade.
Lage also said Sunday that a roughly 20 percent weakening of the
Cuban peso in recent weeks against the U.S. dollar was of a ``transitory
character'' and expected to
``We do not have the situation, nor will we have situation of
1993 and 1994,'' Lage told reporters Sunday at the opening of the Feria
de La Habana, Cuba's most important
annual trade fair.
Cubans describe 1993 and 1994 as the most desperate years of a
severe financial crisis that began with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
For decades, Moscow had
provided Havana with massive aid and preferential trading agreements.
``Our people can be confident, they can be calm, because the country
is much better organized, and is economically stronger,'' he said.
© 2001 The Miami Herald and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.