Cuba Keeps Old Guard for New Policies

Photos by Jorge Luis Baños

Jose Machado Ventura, Fidel & Raul Castro, and Bay of Pigs victim Nemesia Rodríguez. Photo: Jorge Luis Baños

HAVANA TIMES, April 19 — The curtain fell Tuesday on the 6th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba with an entrenched senior leadership and the approval of reforms to the economic system that will reduce the State’s role in some areas, while recommending lifting some prohibitions.

As expected President Raul Castro, 79, was elected the First Secretary of the Party, the post held for over 50 years by retiring Fidel Castro, 84.

The Second Secretary position, previously held by Raul, went to First Vice President Jose Machado Ventura, 80.

Commander Ramiro Valdes, 78, won the number three position in the all-powerful Communist Party.  Some younger party members were elected to the 15-memer politburo but in lower positions.

The Congress approved a long list of changes in the rules governing the Cuban economy, allowing for an emerging private sector and coops, but the details are expected to be published in the coming days.  Over a million state workers will lose their jobs in the coming years to shrink the payroll.

In the coming days Havana Times will publish several analysis of the results of the Communist Party of Cuba Congress.

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