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    Cuba may face cuts in healthcare,
    Posted Tuesday, Oct. 05, 2010
    By Will Weissert
    The Associated Press

    HAVANA — Cuba has already promised to fire a half-million state workers
    and reshape its communist . Now universal free education and
    healthcare, the very building blocks of the 1959 revolution that swept
    Fidel Castro to power, could face cutbacks.

    A signed editorial in the Communist Party newspaper Granma on Tuesday
    argued that the government cannot continue to run up large spending
    deficits — while noting that 46.7 percent of state spending goes to
    providing free medical care and education through college for all citizens.

    "Spending cannot be thought of as a right, and in order to spend, you
    must have proper revenue," said the editorial.

    It's the kind of opinion piece in the government-controlled press that
    can auger imminent announcements of change.

    Last October, Granma's editor wrote in a full-page editorial that it
    could be time to cut back on a ration system that allows Cubans to buy a
    series of foods at heavily subsidized prices every month.

    Since then, the government has cut potatoes, peas and other staples from
    the "libreta," or ration book, that Cubans have depended on since 1962
    to put meager meals on their tables.

    Tuesday's story did not say when — or even if — cutbacks in schools
    and hospitals are coming, and it gave no suggestions for specific ways
    to save money. But its tone was consistent with recent speeches by
    President , who succeeded his brother as president in 2006
    and has said repeatedly that Cuba cannot keep spending so much to keep
    its citizens healthy and educated.

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