Cuba has a centrally planned economy with limited opportunities for self-employed workers and foreign investment. The Cuban government has had rigidly controlled wages and prices and enforced quota systems since the 1960s, but in 2008, after power changed hands from longtime leader Fidel Castro to his brother Raúl, some of those restrictions were lifted. The main economic institutions are the Central Planning Board, headed by the economics minister; the ministries and national organizations that control the economic sectors and basic activities; the various state and mixed enterprises; and the provincial delegations that direct the work of the factories and related services.
Cuba received substantial economic aid from the Soviet Union prior to the latter’s breakup in 1991, an event that had disastrous effects on the island’s economy. During the 1980s theCuban government refused to alter its economic plan, even as the Soviet Union experimented with market mechanisms. Economic growth remained sluggish, and salaries were limited. However, the government kept unemployment low, albeit largely by overstaffing state enterprises. Sugar accounted for more than three-fourths of export earnings—and the largest source of the government’s currency reserves—until the 1990s, when tourism began to grow in importance.
By 1997 sugar accounted for less than half of the value of exports. Remittances from relatives living abroad have become a major economic asset since 1993, when the government allowed U.S. dollars to circulate as legal tender. By the late 1990s, remittances accounted for much of the national income.
In the early 21st century, the U.S. government drastically reduced the amount of money that authorized travelers could carry intoCuba. It also allowed remittances to be sent only to immediate family members. Britannica "Cuba" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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