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Cuba: Cuban state to shed thousands of eateries, eliminate subsidies

HAVANA (Reuters) – Communist-run Cuba plans to convert most state-run eateries into cooperatives and private-run businesses in the coming months and stop subsidizing them as soon as next year, according to local reports and a government source.

The move is seen as a sign the country is moving toward a market-style socialism with increased private business, such as Vietnam or China, and away from the old Soviet-style system it has clung to since its former benefactor’s demise.

The country has been all but bankrupted by fierce U.S. sanctions, the COVID-19 pandemic and its own inefficiencies, and faces mounting foreign debt and budget deficits.

Authorities have declared an emergency and are pushing through various market-oriented reforms first approved a decade ago under then President Raul Castro, but stalled ever since by bureaucratic self-interest and conservatives.

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