Cuba economy czar: Reforms entering critical phase

HAVANA (AP) — Cuba’s economic czar says the Communist-led island’s experiment with limited capitalism is entering a crucial phase this year with the decentralization of bloated state-run businesses.

Marino Murillo says the goal is to improve efficiency. He says the next 18 months will be the “most complex” part of President Raul Castro’s reforms, which have already seen increased private entrepreneurship and a relaxation of many social restrictions.

Murillo spoke Tuesday in just his second encounter with foreign journalists since he rose to prominence in 2010.

He did not give specifics on which companies will be decentralized and what would happen to those that fail. But he said state-run enterprises will have more autonomy and can keep up to 50 percent of revenue to reinvest.

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