Fidel Castro now claims that his statement claiming that the Cuban model of communism no longer works was misinterpreted and taken out of context by an American journalist, but actions speak louder and words as the island nation has announced a major layoff of state workers. At least 500,000 workers will lose their state jobs in the next six months. That means just under five percent of Cuba's total population and 10 percent of the work force will be out a of a job, but the government plans to grow the private sector to replace the jobs.
Raul Castro promised to cut 1 million jobs over the next five years in August, but surprisingly sped up the process by announcing that more than half of those jobs will be axed in the next six months.
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"Our state cannot and should not continue maintaining companies, productive entities and services with inflated payrolls and losses that damage our economy and result counterproductive, create bad habits and distort workers' conduct," the CTC, Cuba's official labor union, said to the government press.
While the government is trying to avoid language signaling growth in the private sector, it seems that replacement jobs for those affected will have to come from outside of the state. Though, there's no announcement on which jobs will be cut, or which parts of the economy the government will allow more private and self employment.
The news is the latest in small but significant developments signaling that Cuba is now more than ever willing to experiment with some characteristics of capitalism.