In Cuba, potatoes and peas were removed from a list of rationed foods, permitting Cubans to buy as much of the products as they want. Previously, Cubans were entitled to buy up to four pounds of potatoes and 10 ounces of peas a month, with prices set very low. Both were available only in state-owned ration stores or on the black market.
Now, official buying limits are gone, but Cubans must pay 5 cents a pound for potatoes and 17 cents a pound for peas at the same ration shops.
That may not sound like much, but it's significant in a country where the average salary is about $20 a month.
Phil Peters, a Cuba expert at the Washington-area think tank the Lexington Institute, said the move is part of a well-publicised if slow-moving effort to overhaul Cuba's economy.
"They've been very clear that they want to move away from the libreta and from subsidies in general," he said. "They are doing it piecemeal."
Peters said the government is also trying to dramatically increase the amount it pays farmers for their crops in an effort to spur more productivity. As a result, it must cut or reduce the subsidies to consumers.
He said dropping the subsidy on potatoes and peas was a good way to test the waters before making a more aggressive move because neither is central to the Cuban diet.