Cuban President Raul Castro said Sunday that the proposal by U.S. President Donald Trump to build a wall on the Mexican border is “irrational” and affects all Latin America.“The wall that is intended to be build on the northern border of Mexico is an expression of irrationality,” said the Cuban leader in Caracas at the 14th Summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-Trade Treaty of the Peoples, also known as ALBA-TCP, adding that it is “not only against this brother country but against our entire region.”“We express the solidarity of Cuba with the Mexican people and government,” he continued, adding that his country is not blind to the causes that affect Latin America.During the meeting, Raul Castro said that “poverty, catastrophe and migrants are not contained by walls, but with cooperation, understanding and peace.”
Cuba publishes few credible economic statistics, but experts expect the country to end this year with gross domestic product growth of 1 percent or less.It maintained a rate close to 3 percent from 2011-2015.One bright spot is tourism, booming since Obama and Castro’s Dec. 17, 2014, detente announcement set off a surge in overall visitor numbers, up more than 15 percent in 2015 and again this year.“I’ve never seen as many tourists as I have this year,” said Magalys Pupo, a street-corner pastry vendor in Old Havana. “They’re everywhere and they’re the income that we need in this country.”The slowness of macroeconomic growth despite a surge of interest in foreign investment and the greatest tourism boom in decades attests to both long-term mismanagement of the Cuban economy and the depth of the crisis in other sectors, particularly aid from Venezuelan in the form of deeply subsidized oil.Analysts believe that as Venezuela’s Cuba-inspired socialist economy has disintegrated, exports to Cuba has dropped from 115,000 barrels daily in 2008 to 90,000 in recent years to 40,000 a day over the last few months.
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