HAVANA TIMES — The Cuban Parliament meets today for its first session of the new legislature after the members were sworn in last February, marking the start of the second and final term of President Raul Castro, reported DPA news.
Castro, 82, announced he will retire from office after his second five-year period. The younger Castro assumed the presidency in 2006 on an interim basis following the illness of his brother Fidel, and was formally elected to the position in 2008.
As a preview to the one day plenary session the legislators met in the ten standing committees on Thursday and Friday.
The session is focusing on the economy and economic reforms as well as the budget.
President Castro has stressed on several occasions that the country will maintain its socialist premises and the state monopoly in the main areas of the economy.
“In Cuba there is no change to capitalism, there is no privatization, nor a flirtation with the precepts of that system,” explained economic policy chief Marino Murillo, considered the “czar” of the economic reforms.
After adjustments to partially release the automotive and real estate market and to promote self-employment, among other measures, it is estimated that Cuba also seeks to promote broader reforms. One change being considered would be an end to the dual currency.
Raul Castro is expected to address the parliament on Saturday and will no doubt mention again the fight against corruption, one of the main efforts of his government since coming to power.
The Cuban Parliament meets twice a year for three or four days each, first in committees and then the plenary. Routinely all executive decree-laws are approved unanimously.