Saturday, 19 Jan 2019

Cuba elects nine new ministers, but Castro’s old guard remains

The Council of Ministers serving Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel on Saturday has nine new members, but also continuity with the advice of its predecessor Raúl Castro.

Díaz-Canel, 58, who was promoted to Cuban presidency on 19 April when Castro retired, was born after the Cuban Revolution of 1959, but the new Council of Ministers shows that his government is not ready yet to deviate from the old guard. It still includes aging "historicos" who fought in the revolution.

Díaz-Canel serves as President of the Council of Ministers and the Council of State, and Cuban observers had anticipated his prime minister as a way of measuring whether he could begin from the long shadow of Castro, who is still head of the Cuban Communist Party is to break out.

The Cuban parliamentary group approved the election of Salvador Valdés Mesa, who was also elected first vice-president of the State Council in April. As a former worker leader, he joined the ranks of the revolutionaries as a teenager.

Remains of Castro's Council of Ministers, who remained as vice presidents, were: Ramiro Valdés, an 86-year-old revolutionary commander who also serves as vice-president in the State Council; Gene. Ulises Rosales del Toro, 76, founder of the Communist Party of Cuba; and Ricardo Cabrisas, 81, who had served as Minister of Economy and Planning

Another soldier, José Amado Ricardo Guerra, remains secretary of the Council of Ministers. [194559004] Inés María Chapman, a hydraulic engineer who had headed the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources, and Roberto Morales Ojeda, a doctor who has served as Minister of Health since 2013, were promoted to Vice President. Both Chapman and Morales were also promoted to Vice-President of the State Council in April

Joining the Council of Ministers will be José Ángel Portal Miranda. He replaces Morales as Minister of Public Health and Antonio Rodríguez Rodríguez, who takes over Chapman's former job as President of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources.

Abel Prieto, 67, who served twice as Minister of Culture – most recently since July 2016 – is replaced by Alpidio Alonso Grau, 54th a poet and editor.

The other new members of the Council of Ministers are:

▪ Iris Quiñones Rojas, Minister of the Food Industry

▪ Betsy Díaz Velázquez, Minister for the domestic trade

▪ Alejandro Gil Fernández, the former deputy of economy and planning, who now becomes minister.

▪ Raúl García Barreiro, Minister of Energy and Mines

▪ Jorge Luis Perdomo Di-Lella, Minister of Communications [19659002] ▪ Oscar Manuel Silv Eira Martínez, Minister of Justice

In addition to the Vice-Presidents and the Secretary, 17 returning members of the Council of Ministers were confirmed by the National Assembly.

Among the offshoots of the Council of Ministers was Marino Murillo, a former vice-president who became known as the Czar for Castro's blocked economic reforms. In the spring he lost his position in the State Council.

The Cuban National Assembly met in the Havana Convention Hall to debate a new constitution that reaffirms not only the socialist nature of the revolution, but also the irrevocability of Cuba's political and political power economic model. A draft of the new constitution will be submitted to the Cuban people for consultation before it is adopted.

Constitutional reforms currently under discussion include the creation of the ministerial post, which will lead the Council of Ministers and administer the Council of Ministers, in collaboration with a president and vice-president.

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