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The Associated Press August 27, 2010, 3:17PM ET

Cuba embraces 2 surprising free-market reforms

Cuba has issued two surprising free-market decrees, allowing foreign investors to lease government land for up to 99 years and loosening state controls on commerce so as to let islanders grow and sell their own fruit and vegetables.

The moves were published into law in the Official Gazette on Thursday and Friday and take effect immediately.

They are key first steps of President Raul Castro's promise to reduce the communist state's control of the economy while attempting to generate new revenues for a government short on cash.

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