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Cuba Tries To Become More Investor-Friendly

Its nation saddled with a stagnant economy, the Cuban Parliament took up a soul-searching issue Monday - how to satisfy wary foreign capitalists without sacrificing communist control.

Cuban leader Fidel Castro spoke in favor of letting Cuban exiles invest in the country.

In comments broadcast over state radio, Castro said excluding exiles would strengthen “the elements who are most recalcitrant, most reactionary toward the revolution.”

The National Assembly opened debate on a proposed law granting investors greater rights, and passage is expected. Most details had been completed in committee before the general session at the Palace of Conventions.

The government says some 212 companies have signed deals in recent years to invest more than $2 billion in Cuba.

Japanese cars, British gasoline stations and Spanish hotels have become common across Cuba. But the U.S. economic embargo of the island and investor wariness have kept growth slow.

“In reality, the deals we have made are not so numerous nor so large,” Castro said.


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