People & Power - Reforming Cuba's ailing economy - 14 Mar 09 - Part 1

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Al Jazeera English
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People & Power looks at the effects of Cubas economic reforms. Fifty years ago, Cubans embraced his socialist principles. But now, after almost two decades of economic hardship, an increasing number of Cubans, especially the young, no longer believe in the socialist dream their grandparents fought for.

Castro's brother Raul, who now leads the country, has embarked on a series of social and economic reforms that embody the principles of capitalism more than they do socialism.
Among the reforms, the change in the agricultural sector and salary system have been the most ambitious. Raul's new system gives Cubans who earn a typical salary of just $17 a month an incentive to work hard and make more money, allowing workers to earn performance bonuses. The concept itself is astonishing to generations who have been raised in a hard-line Communist Party doctrine emphasizing equality in all things, including wages.
The hope is that the reforms will kick start the ailing Cuban economy, but for many young Cubans, this is too little, too late. When the Soviet Union ended its financial support for Cuba in 1990, the shortcomings of Castro's socialist experiment were exposed, persuading many young Cubans to try and leave the country, risking everything to reach the shores of the world's most capitalist country, America.

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