Díaz-Canel heads the PCC. Díaz-Canel replaces Raúl Castro as first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba.
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel replaced Raúl Castro as first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba on Monday, on the fourth and last day of the VIII Congress of the political formation.
The 300 delegates present at the meeting endorsed the report that places the development of the national economy, together with "ideological firmness", among the main missions of the Cuban single party, according to state media.
The meeting, which concludes today, was held behind closed doors and without access to the foreign press.
In his central report, Raúl Castro repeated, as in the last Congress, that the election of Díaz-Canel is not the result of improvisation, but that he is a thought-out candidate.
He also assured that in the last three years Díaz-Canel "has known how to form a team" and "fostered cohesion with the higher organs of the Party, the State and the Government".
Castro also said that he is retiring "with the thoughtful conviction of not accepting proposals to keep me in the higher bodies of the party organization, in whose ranks I will continue to militate as one more revolutionary fighter, ready to make my modest contribution until the end of my life".
As expected, among the outgoing officials is the number two of the all-powerful PCC, José Ramón Machado Ventura, 90 years old.
The Political Bureau was integrated as follows:
Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Party and President of the Republic of Cuba.
Esteban Lazo Hernández, President of the National Assembly of People's Power and of the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba.
Salvador Valdés Mesa, Vice President of the Republic of Cuba
Roberto Morales Ojeda, member of the Political Bureau and Secretary of Organization and Cadre Policy
General of the Army Corps, Álvaro López Miera, Minister of the Cuban Armed Forces
Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba
Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento, Secretary General of the Central de Trabajadores de Cuba (Cuban Workers' Central)
Teresa Amarelle Boué, Secretary General of the National Directorate of the Federation of Cuban Women
Martha Ayala Ávila, general director of the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
Manuel Marrero Cruz, Prime Minister of the Republic of Cuba
José Amado Ricardo Guerra, Secretary of the Council of Ministers
Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Calleja, executive president of the Business Administration Group
Major General, Lázaro Alberto Álvarez Casas, Minister of the Interior
Gladys Martínez Verdecia, first secretary of the Provincial Committee of the Party in Artemisa
An announced replacement
Raúl Castro, who will turn ninety in June, has led the PCC since the previous congress held in 2016, when he received from his brother Fidel Castro (who died in November of the same year) the relay as first secretary of the highest governing body of the Cuban state.
At that time, the youngest Castro indicated that this congress would be "the last of the historic generation", described as "strategic" the generational replacement and established age limits for its highest leadership.
Two years later, in 2018, he cleared the unknown about his successor in office by revealing that it would be Díaz-Canel, during his last speech as Cuba's ruler before the National Assembly.
The new rules set at 60 years the maximum age to join the Central Committee of the PCC and establish a limit of seventy to hold leadership positions in the organization.
In addition to the generational replacement, the agenda of the conclave has focused on analyzing the results of the economic reforms proposed a decade ago and on reinforcing the propaganda mechanisms of the so-called "hard line" of the regime.
The meeting takes place in the midst of a serious economic situation on the island, with the added tensions caused by the current outbreak of the coronavirus and the increase in the chronic shortage of food and basic products, which has fueled unrest and discontent among the population.
On the first day of the Congress, Raul Castro himself called on the new US President, Joe Biden, to resume a "respectful dialogue". The U.S. government, for its part, once again recalled that dialogue with the regime is not a priority and urged the Cuban authorities to respect human rights.
However, coinciding with the VIII Congress and its propaganda wave, repression of activists and dissidents has intensified on the island.
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