OFFICIAL VOICE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA CENTRAL COMMITTEE
Photo: Yander Zamora

SANTIAGO DE CHILE.—TheEconomic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), yesterday July 29, noted Cuba’s positive economic growth thus far this year, while emphasizing that the U.S. blockade continues to impede the country’s progress.

During a press conference here, ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena was asked about Cuba’s economic perspectives. She commented that, although progress has been significant, “The blockade is still a formidable obstacle.”

Bárcena told PL that despite the easing of restrictions in some areas, including tourism, trade and others “The truth is that the blockade continues to increase costs.”

She added that the organization had submitted a report to the UN General Assembly which estimates the cost of the blockade to Cuba in 2014 as approximately 117 billion dollars.

“In any event, we believe that there will be more activity in 11 areas, which are going to attract foreign investment, such as food processing, bio-chemicals, renewable energy, construction, and operations at the new Port of Mariel,” Bárcena said.

She noted that Cuba had surpassed ECLAC’s initial projections, showing growth of 4% during the first part of the year.

Although deceleration is generalized around the region, the Southern Cone sub-region contracted at a rate of 0.4%, while Central America and Mexico grew only 2.8%. The Caribbean as a whole posted a growth rate of only 1.7%.

Panama lead regional expansion with a 6% rate, followed by Antigua and Barbuda (5.4%), the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua (both 4.8 %), she said.