Castro Says Cuba to Remain One-Party

Raúl Castro at the closing of a two-day conference of the Cuban Communist Party. Photo: Ismael Francisco/ Cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES (dpa) — Cuban President Raul Castro on Sunday ratified the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) monopoly as the only legal political organization on the island.

In his address at the closing of the two-day PCC convention in Havana, Castro directly addressed the “illusions” that have emerged amid political reform about a potential end of the single-party regime.

The idea of a single party is a concept that the current Cuban leadership will never give up, he said.

Dissidents and the Cuban Roman Catholic Church, among others, have stressed that the country’s decision-making process still lacks political plurality and have demanded political reform to go with recent economic changes.

“Renouncing the principle of a single party would be simply equivalent to legalizing the party or parties of imperialism on home soil,” Castro said.

Cuban authorities insist that dissidents are on the payroll of foreign powers, particularly the United States, and that they serve foreign interests.

Castro said he respects multi-party systems in other countries but will not allow the return to Cuba of the “bourgeois republic.”

Castro presided since Saturday over the first-ever convention of the PCC, in which delegates debated reform behind closed doors.

Although the convention features in the constitution, such an assembly had never been held before. It was called in the wake of the party’s April congress, which institutionalized the island’s economic reform process.

Delegates debated the re-organization of the party in light of recent reforms, which among others grant more space to private initiative in many fields.

Raul Castro, who took over the helm of government after ailing brother Fidel stepped down, became the island-country’s president in 2008, but only officially took over the PCC leadership in April.

There are more than 800,000 registered members of the Communist Party in the country of 11 million people.

State media gave few details of the content of debate at the convention, which went largely unnoticed for the man on the street.

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