Cuba intensifies fight against corruption

Havana, May 13 (EFE).- Corruption and illegal activities in areas like fuel distribution are of great concern for the Cuban government, the official media reported here Monday.

Those issues were analyzed at a meeting of the Council of Ministers held last Friday at which President Raul Castro emphasized that the "great battle" being fought today in Cuba is against its own "limitations and deficiencies" in all sectors.

"The mistakes, generally lead to millions in losses to the economy," he said and called upon the nation to avoid "the waste of resources," adding that saving constitutes the island economy's main source of income.

At the meeting, the minister of foreign trade and investment, Rodrigo Malmierca, presented a report on irregularities detected in the operation of businesses with foreign capital and international contracts.

Among the main causes of - and conditions that have fostered - those acts, he cited the "scanty rigor, control and thoroughness" in business, as well as the behavior of the implicated directors and officials, whether it be "from ignorance, inability or ethical violations."

The government also admits irregularities and crimes in the marketing of fuels, where the main thefts are committed in refineries, transportation headquarters and gasoline stations.

According to Economy Minister Adel Yzquierdo, the earnings from this type of illegal trafficking cause "the ongoing siege" of employees in the sector by people who "sell the fuel at up to 60 percent below the official prices."

Raul Castro, who succeeded ailing older brother Fidel in 2008, is trying to "modernize" Cuba's socialist economic model.