Spain's foreign minister visits Cuba, urges more rapid reforms to expand
Published November 25, 2014 Associated Press
HAVANA – Spain's foreign minister urged Cuba on Tuesday to accelerate
economic reforms designed to expand private enterprise and attract
foreign investment to the communist-run island.
Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo's two-day visit to Cuba was
the first by a minister in the Cabinet of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano
Rajoy, whose conservative Popular Party has long been critical of Cuba's
Cuba's economic reforms were launched by President Raul Castro in 2010
to kick-start a centrally planned economy starved for cash and hamstrung
by inefficiency. But the country has been slow to unify its currencies
and potential investors have complained of the pace of change, the lack
of supplies and the slowness of what should be simple decisions because
of overlapping government agencies.
"Spain would like to see a more rapid pace to the economic reforms that
give more space for private initiative and foreign investment ... which
advance monetary unification and allow for decentralization," said
Garcia-Margallo, who met Tuesday with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno
Rodriguez and Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel.
Garcia-Margallo urged Castro to attend an Ibero-American summit of
Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking nations to be held in Veracruz, Mexico,
in December. Cuba in recent years has focused on sending officials to
more left-leaning regional summits.
The foreign minister also asked Cuba to allow a group of former
political prisoners to leave the country, something not permitted under
the conditions of their release and the island's migratory laws.
Garcia-Margallo did not say how Cuban officials had responded to his
Source: Spain's foreign minister visits Cuba, urges more rapid reforms
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