Associated Press 09.29.08, 11:57 AM ET
Cuba has frozen prices at farmers markets and is promising to punish
vendors who charge more for hard-to-find food as reserves dwindle
following two hurricanes.
A decree from the communist government says prices will remain fixed at
levels set by regional committees. The government tolerates some
supply-and-demand farmer's markets, but there too, prices will revert to
pre-hurricane levels for what Cuba calls "basic" products.
The announcement warns of a crackdown on state employees who steal food
and construction materials from work for sale on the black market.
Monday's decree appears to be an attempt to reassure Cubans that basic
food will not get more expensive as the island struggles to recover from
Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.