In another measure designed to reduce the state’s control of the economy and promote private enterprise, the Communist government of Cuba announced it will liberalize the sale of sugar, after subsidizing its price for decades.

According to Juventud Rebelde, the state-controlled newspaper, sugar will gradually be sold in shops and supermarkets where it can fetch a higher price.

The liberalized sale of sugar, both in its refined and raw variety, is an expected and necessary decision, above all for the successful development of the self-employed sector, Juventud Rebelde stated.

In addition, the price of imported rice will climb by more than 40 percent.

Phasing out of food price subsidies will relieve the burden of the cash-poor government. (Ironically, governments in several Arab nations, including Jordan, are increasing such subsidies to appease their people).

President Raul Castro (Fidel’s brother) has ushered in a series of sweeping economic changes since last summer, including the layoff of 1-million public sector workers and liberalization of rules governing small businesses and self-employment. As a result, thousands of Cubans have applied for licenses to establish their own businesses.