"With food production pitifully low for a country with fertile land and a year-round growing climate, farmers need more land and more autonomy in tilling it to boost output. Cuba imports at least 70% of its food, including a record $437-million worth from the United States last year.
Raul Castro, the president's 76-year-old brother and potential successor, and other Cuban leaders for months have indicated that farmers may receive legal rights to their land and guaranteed market prices for their produce.
Fidel Castro, 81, has long opposed anything that smacks of private enterprise or disproportionately enriches one group of Cubans. But his brother and lifelong No. 2, who began leading the country when Fidel fell ill and temporarily ceded power to him 19 months ago, has been speaking openly about the need to stimulate agricultural output by turning land back to those who want to work it and boost their living standards by the sweat of their brows."