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Cuba’s president replaces the country’s economy minister following delays to planned price hikes

HAVANA (AP) — Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel removed the country’s economy minister on Friday, according to state media, following a delay in recently announced measures to increase the prices of fuel and transportation.

Cuba’s Council of State, which is under the president’s leadership, appointed Central Bank president Joaquín Alonso Vázquez to replace Alejandro Gil, the outgoing economy minister.

The move comes days after the government put on hold an increase in gasoline prices planned for Feb. 1, saying a cyberattack from outside the communist-run island nation had prevented its implementation.

The Cuban government said late last year that it would have to either increase prices for fuel and electricity, or reduce rations for basic supplies.

At the time, Díaz-Canel said that difficult measures were needed for difficult times. The then-economy minister, Gil, said Cuba’s economy had contracted between 1% and 2% in 2023, while inflation was at about 30%.

The government said it needed to hike fuel prices or else it would have to reduce the amount of food and other basics contained in government ration books.

The economic crisis in Cuba is already so bad that hundreds of thousands of people have left in a bid to reach the United States.

Diaz-Canel also removed Science, Technology and Environment Minister Elba Rosa Perez after more than a decade in the post. She will be replaced by Eduardo Martinez, a lawmaker and president of the Cuban pharmaceutical company, BioCubaFarma.

State media also reported that the Food Industry Ministry will now be led by lawmaker Alberto Lopez, governor of Villa Clara province.

Article Topic Follows: AP National News

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