By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: May 23, 2011
The Communist Party newspaper Granma published an article on Monday
praising the more than 1,000 independent shops that sell building
materials in Cuba, saying that the stores give Cubans more access to
supplies without having to navigate the bureaucracy. "Acquiring these
products no longer means immersing oneself in the tangle of innumerable
'legal' documents that, in many cases, facilitated corruption and
favoritism toward a 'chosen' few who were not always the most in need,"
the paper said. The government has long controlled all construction on
the island. Cement and other building materials were available in theory
at state-run stores at heavily subsidized prices, but demand greatly
outstripped supply in part due to pilfering from state stocks.