Tags: cuba | potato | rations | scheme

Cuba Eliminates Potato From Rationing Scheme

Thursday, 12 November 2009 11:13 AM

The humble potato has become the symbol of a new revolution sweeping Cuba.

The vegetable has been eliminated from the thick brown ration books that Cuban nationals relied on for nearly 50 years to purchase government-subsidized groceries, part of the socialist country's attempt to ensure equal access to such staples as rice, beans and cooking oil.

If this is the beginning of the end for Cuban ration books – and many who have been charting the series of changes instituted by new President Raul Castro believe it is – the implications for the future of the struggling country's economy are huge.

“It's an attempt to start a new model you might call market socialism,” said John Kirk, a professor who specializes in Cuban studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

“It's a survival strategy to a certain extent. Raul Castro is saying … the model that we've used needs to be radically changed. The issue of ration books is one breadcrumb along the path.”

Since he officially assumed the country's helm from his ailing brother Fidel in February, 2008, Mr. Castro has been telegraphing reforms to Cuba's vast array of subsidization programs, which cover everything from food to medical care and electricity.

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The humble potato has become the symbol of a new revolution sweeping Cuba.
Thursday, 12 November 2009 11:13 AM
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