Q24N (La Habana) Cuba turned the page on the governments of the Castro brothers, with the retirement on Monday of Raúl Castro, 89, in a symbolic transition, but one that does not change the political line of the country, one of the last communists in the world.
“Elected Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of #Cuba in the # 8voCongresoPCC,” the party announced on its Twitter account at the end of the election of the party delegates.
“April 19, a historic day,” said 60-year-old President Díaz-Canel on his Twitter account. “The Centennial Generation, founder, and leader of the Party, hands over responsibilities to a younger generation,” he added.
The conclave of the single party that was held in La Habana (Havana) and called the “congress of continuity” concludes on Monday in the Bay of Pigs, where 60 years ago Cuba defeated an anti-Castro invasion organized and financed by the CIA.
The relief occurs in the midst of a deep economic crisis in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic and the strengthening of the embargo that the United States has maintained against the island for 60 years.
Most of the 11.2 million inhabitants of the country have only known Fidel and Raúl Castro at the head of power.
“Since I was born I have known only one party and until now we live with it, and no one is starving,” says Miguel Gainza, a 58-year-old artisan who works in Old Havana and supports this political system.
‘Manage a country’
A total of 300 delegates from across the island, representing 700,000 militants, voted Sunday to elect the Central Committee, made up of 114 members.
The Political Bureau (Politburo), the party’s leadership, was made up of 14 members, the communist party reported on Monday.
For John Kavulich, president of the Cuba-United States Economic and Commercial Council, a generational change is necessary.
Castro’s departure is accompanied by the retirement of other militants who achieved the triumph of the revolution in 1959, such as the second secretary, José Ramón Machado Ventura, 90, and Ramiro Valdés, 88.
The party is aging. 42.6% of its members are over 55 years old, which frustrates the aspirations of young people.
Kavulich considers that in the party there is a “lack of will to accept that it no longer needs to fight for a revolution, but to administer a country.”
Among many Cubans, there is a fatigue due to the shortages and the long lines to get supplies.
The country imports 80% of what it consumes.
The government, harassed in the last four years by the tightening of sanctions from the Trump Administration, continues to have ideological combat among its priorities.
“The existence in Cuba of a single party has been and will always be in the focus of the enemy’s campaigns,” Castro said Friday in his speech at the party congress.
“This unity must be jealously guarded and never accept the division between revolutionaries under false pretenses of greater democracy,” he added.