November 10, 2010 17:23 PM
Cuba To Eliminate Ration Cards Introduced In 1962
HAVANA, Nov 10 (BERNAMA-NNN-MERCOPRESS) – Cuba is proposing the orderly
elimination of the ration card according to a document prepared for the
ruling party Communist Congress scheduled for April next year.
The social policy document under the heading of "Guidelines' project for
economic and social policy" went on sale yesterday here and is expected
to be approved in the coming congress.
The document anticipates "implementing the orderly elimination of the
ration card, a regulated and fair distribution system at subsidised prices".
The ration card favours both the needy as the non needy "promotes
bartering and resale practices and encourages an underground market".
Effective since 1962, the ration card is supposed to deliver at symbolic
prices cereals, sugar, chicken, fish, eggs, rice, coffee, cooking oil,
pasta and bread among other staples (when they are available) to the
11.2 million residents of the island.
In recent months the Cuban government decided to end with the supply of
potatoes and tobacco, which triggered the debate over whether the ration
card should subsist or be eliminated.
"It is also important to improve ways to protect the vulnerable
population because of food supply", points out the document.
In other words this means keeping the "social food distribution system
in social services, health centres and education establishments that
need it" as well as in the workers mess rooms which are "essential", but
charging subsidised prices.
The closure of subsidised workers mess rooms begun in Sept last year in
several ministries on a trial basis and with the purpose of cutting
The programme also includes leaving redundant half a million government
employees that will be encouraged to become small entrepreneurs or self
Another half million will follow taking advantage of the experience
collected with the first batch hoping to promote a dynamic private
sector of small shop keepers and tradesmen.
These latest announcements are in the framework of other measures on
economic policy undertaken by President Raul Castro since taking office
and with the purpose of "up-dating" and making more transparent and
realistic the Cuban economy.
Castro will convene the April congress, the first since 1997, with the
specific task of addressing economic policy.