Castro asks Cuban leaders for critical remarks on reform

President Raul Castro asked Cuban leaders at all levels for their critical thoughts on business reforms as the communist nation slowly opens its economy, state media reported Monday.

"What we do is not perfect; sometimes we lack experience and make errors. That's why each topic must constantly undergo critical observations," Castro said Saturday during a meeting of his ministers.

Castro denounced what he said was passivity and the vertical nature of management bodies that has prevailed on the island for decades, according to the official Cuban newspaper Granma.

"We're used to guidance from above and that must change," he said.

Recent Cuban economic reforms have opened up more room for business and private work on the island, although the government still controls 90 percent of the economy.

Castro emphasized that leaders should know when and where to lodge the critical commentary he is asking for.

They "have to issue opinions at the right time and in the right ways," said Castro, 82.

As part of reforms aimed at "updating" the Cuban economic system, which is on the brink of bankruptcy, the ministers also approved the creation of 228 new cooperatives -- 186 in commerce, restaurants and services, 15 in light industry and 12 in construction.