- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Havana moves on farm reform

HAVANA — Cuba has begun decentralizing the state-dominated agriculture sector in what appears to be the first major move by new President Raul Castro to improve efficiency and cut bureaucracy.

At meetings across Cuba, farmers are being told decisions ranging from land use to resource allocation and sales will no longer be made at the 17-floor agriculture ministry in Havana but at the local level, farmers who attended said.

In addition, local municipal offices will be streamlined and will take more into account the activities of private farmers and cooperatives, not just state farms, they said.


Authorities block access to blog

HAVANA — Cuban authorities have blocked access from Cuba to the country’s most-read blogger, Yoani Sanchez, she said yesterday.

Ms. Sanchez, whose critical “Generacion Y” blog received 1.2 million hits last month, said Cubans can no longer visit her Web page (www.desdecuba.com/generaciony) and two other homegrown bloggers on the Web site on a server in Germany.


Shining Path ambushes patrol

LIMA — Shining Path rebels working with drug traffickers killed a police officer and wounded 11 others who were part of an anti-drug patrol in the coca-producing Apurimac River valley, a police chief said yesterday.

A female officer, 21, died from a bullet in the head Sunday and the others were wounded as they sought refuge from the ambush in a ravine, Gen. Miguel Hidalgo, chief of Peru’s anti-drug police, told the Canal 7 news program.

Such attacks on police have occurred frequently since an armed group bearing hand grenades and submachine guns stormed a police station near a drug-trafficking route in Apurimac in November, killing a police lieutenant and wounding three officers.

Authorities attribute such attacks to an alliance between drug traffickers and the remnants of Peru’s deadly Maoist Shining Path guerrilla group.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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