Raúl Castro to Step Down as Head of Cuba’s Communist Get together

MEXICO CITY — Raúl Castro introduced Friday that he was handing over management of Cuba’s ruling Communist Get together to a youthful technology “stuffed with ardour and anti-imperialist spirit,” leaving the island nation with no Castro in a prime management position for the primary time in over 60 years.

Mr. Castro, who turns 90 in June, reiterated his long-anticipated intention to step down in a speech kicking off the Communist Get together congress on Friday. He’s anticipated to formally step down and announce his substitute earlier than the convention ends on Monday.

After serving two phrases as Cuba’s president, Mr. Castro stepped down from that office in 2018, changed by his handpicked successor, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez.

Cuba’s management will probably announce additional reforms throughout the get together congress, permitting for extra free-market exercise and reorienting the nation’s financial system additional away from the austere, state-run mannequin put in place after the revolution that introduced Mr. Castro and his brother, Fidel, to energy in 1959.

The Communist Get together has little alternative however to reform or face rising discontent as Cuba faces its worst economic crisis since the 1990s, after the autumn of the Soviet Union. By ushering in a brand new, youthful political class, Mr. Castro hopes to set the nation on a course to totally embrace and implement the financial reforms he launched within the years since his brother Fidel — the chief of the revolution — died five years ago.

Mr. Castro is seen as extra pragmatic than Fidel, extra prepared to inch Cuba away from the Communist mannequin that his brother championed, which offered the nation with main developmental successes, together with excessive literacy charges and high quality well being look after all Cubans, however has left the financial system in shambles.

“In fact Raúl will proceed to have affect, like Deng Xiaoping did when he stepped down,” mentioned Carlos Alzugaray, a celebration insider and a former diplomat within the Cuban authorities, referring to the Chinese language revolutionary chief who took over after Mao Zedong and led China via a interval of widespread market reforms.

Mr. Alzugaray added that on elementary points like relations with america and on important financial points, Mr. Castro could weigh in from his retirement. However he’ll probably not intrude within the day-to-day working of Cuba.

“It received’t be a clean-cut factor, it’s not how the system works in Cuba,” Mr. Alzugaray mentioned. “It’s not just like the U.S. the place the previous presidents don’t have affect as soon as they go away workplace.”

Mr. Castro had introduced in 2016 that he would quit his put up as secretary-general of the Communist Get together throughout this yr’s get together congress, with a purpose to hand over energy to a youthful technology. The secretary-general is probably the most highly effective place in Cuba, extra highly effective than the presidency, seen because the second most senior place.

Mr. Díaz-Canel will probably be elected as the brand new secretary-general of the Communist Get together over the weekend, consolidating his management over Cuba. The 2 roles are sometimes held by the identical particular person, with Fidel presiding over each positions for some 30 years.

Youthful members are anticipated to be elected to the 17-member Politburo earlier than the top of the get together congress, additional clearing the physique of what Cubans name the “historic technology,” the veterans of the armed revolution.

Cuba has been dominated for many years by an growing older political class, a lot of whom launched the revolution within the 1950s and are seen as proof against the reforms Mr. Castro has tried to push via.

Maria Abi-Habib reported from Mexico Metropolis. Ed Agustin contributed from Havana, Cuba.

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