World Economy

Cubans Facing Hard Times

Cubans Facing Hard TimesCubans Facing Hard Times

President Raul Castro told Cubans to brace for tough times because the country must cut spending and energy supply as it deals with a cash crunch and reduced oil imports from ally Venezuela, Reuters reported. Cuban economic growth slowed to 1% in the first half of this year from 4.7% in the same period of 2015, Castro told the mid-year session of the National Assembly. This was half of what the government had forecast. The economic outlook throughout Latin America has weakened due to lower commodity prices. Castro’s warning came at a time when Cuban expectations are high due to economic reforms and warming relations with the United States. “Rumors and forecasts of an imminent collapse of our economy with a return to the acute phase of the Special Period... have started to appear,” Castro said. He was referring to the years after Cuba’s biggest benefactor, the Soviet Union, collapsed. During that time, in the early 1990s, Cubans had to cope with widespread power outages and food shortages.