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Archive for Wednesday, April 2, 2008

More consumer goods made available

April 2, 2008

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— Cubans snapped up DVD players, motorbikes and pressure cookers for the first time Tuesday as Raul Castro's new government loosened controls on consumer goods and invited private farmers to plant tobacco, coffee and other crops on unused state land.

Combined with other reforms announced in recent days, the measures suggest real changes are being driven by the new president, who vowed when he took over from his brother Fidel to remove some of the more irksome limitations on the daily lives of Cubans.

Many of the shoppers filling stores Tuesday lamented the fact that the goods are unaffordable on the government salaries they earn. But that didn't stop them from lining up to see electronic gadgets previously available only to foreigners and companies.

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