At the beginning of the Eighth Congress of the Cuban Communist Party in Havana, party leader Raul Castro announced his resignation from his post. “As far as I am concerned, my job as the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party ends with satisfaction in my duties and my confidence in the future of the motherland,” said the 89-year-old. Friday in the presentation of the central report to Congress.
He was satisfied with his ability to hand over the leadership of the country to well-prepared officials who championed the continuity of the Cuban Revolution of 1959, according to Castro. It was not clear who would succeed the army general at the head of the only approved party in the Caribbean country. But for the first time since its founding in 1965, Castro will not chair after Monday’s party convention. Raul Castro took over the position of first secretary in 2011 from his older brother, the revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, who died in 2016. Three years ago, he gave up the position of president to Miguel Diaz-Canel. This is close to Castro and he can also inherit from him the position of party leader.
PCCs have taken place roughly every five years since the first in 1975. This time, due to the Corona pandemic, only about 300 delegates participated – instead of about 1,000, as before. Among other things, they elect the Central Committee.
When launching the report, Castro highlighted Cuba’s management of the epidemic and economic reforms – such as the elimination of one of its two domestic currencies earlier this year – as achievements. But he also admitted to “negligence” in implementing the reforms, which would have led to price inflation. Problems like corruption persist. Castro also emphasized that Cuba wanted a respectful dialogue with the old archenemy, the United States, without making concessions regarding its sovereignty and independence.
The Cuban economy has recently suffered severely from increasingly severe US sanctions during the tenure of former President Donald Trump and from the collapse of tourism in the Corona pandemic.