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Posted March 21, 2008 by publisher in Castro's Cuba

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Cubans have a new vehicle to express their opinions: letters to the editor of the ruling Communist Party newspaper Granma.

Letters for and against reforms under consideration by Cuba’s new President Raul Castro were published by Granma on Friday.

One writer called for the elimination of the dual currency system, a major source of complaint among Cubans, who are paid in Cuban pesos but must buy many consumer goods in Cuba’s hard currency Convertible pesos worth 24 times more.

Publication of the letter was a novelty in a country where the press is controlled by a one-party state that allows no independent media and has a record of suppressing dissent.

It follows a new trend of stimulating public debate started by Raul Castro since he took over running the government when his brother Fidel Castro fell ill in mid-2006. The older Castro has not appeared in public again and his brother was installed last month as Cuba’s first new leader in half a century.

Raul Castro has encouraged Cubans to speak out on the problems that need fixing in the inefficient economy he inherited from his brother.

The letters to the editor section began to appear last Friday in a larger edition of Granma with 16 pages instead of the usual eight.

“The idea is to show the public what people think. It is the people that will write the letter,” said a journalist at the newspaper, who asked not to be named.

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Bill Trott)

  1. Follow up post #1 added on March 23, 2008 by Yeyo with 411 total posts

    This is probably another maneuver from the government.
    The letters were likely ordered by Raul Castro to show that he is stimulating public debate but that is only more propaganda.

  2. Follow up post #2 added on March 23, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Yes very possible but it makes me wonder how far Raul will go with this. Whether the letters are real or made up, they are published and that says something.

    Cuba consulting services

  3. Follow up post #3 added on March 24, 2008 by nacho with 111 total posts

    I cannot find those letters in the Granma website, can you?

  4. Follow up post #4 added on March 24, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Probably in the International print edition only which gets distributed internationally and of course not on the island.

    Good point. This is what I mean when I say in other posts about the details. Raul announces all these reforms like allowing people to own computers but the reality of the situation is that it is not feasible or not completely accurate or will be implemented gradually over time etc etc.

    Cuba consulting services

  5. Follow up post #5 added on March 24, 2008 by nacho with 111 total posts

    Exactly, and the Cubans inside the island find about this from people abroad

    Granma has two versions online, the international one at http://www.granma.cu in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German and Italian and the daily one http://www.granma.cubaweb.cu only in Spanish and English

    Please note that the language version could be pretty different. In the daily page, the English is updated way later that the Spanish one. In the international version, the English is updated shortly after the Spanish one but from past experiences, some times the content is differently. Also, I am sure that the print version the Cubans receive in the island is very different

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