As expected, the VIII Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba has elected Miguel Díaz-Canel as the maximum party leader this Monday and made official the departure of its highest instance, the Political Bureau, of the three ‘historical’ that remained at the top of the PCC: Raúl Castro, 89 years old, José Ramón Machado Ventura (90 years old), who until now held the position of second secretary of the Party, and Commander Ramiro Valdés, 88.
The new Political Bureau, which until now had 17 members, is reduced to 14 and the most remarkable thing is that the Prime Minister, Manuel Marrero, Díaz-Canel’s henchman, and Luis Alberto López Rodríguez Callejas, head of GAESA, the military corporation that controls important spheres of the economy, who until now had maintained a discreet profile at the top of power despite controlling a vital sphere of great economic weight.
In the previous Political Bureau there were five soldiers, including Raúl Castro. Now there are three left, among them Álvaro López Miera, son of Spanish Republican exiles and appointed minister of the Armed Forces a few days ago to replace Leopoldo Cintas Frías, who left the Bureau and left the post of Army chief for serving two terms and submitting to the same “renewal” rules as Raúl and the historical ones who are retiring. López Calleja has the rank of general, although for years he has mainly dedicated himself to economic functions at the head of Gaesa.
Men like Esteban Lazo, current president of the Parliament, or Salvador Valdés mesa, one of the country’s vice presidents, an intermediate generation of leaders who, although they did not fight in the Sierra Maestra, have been sharing power with the old guard for years. The current Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodríguez, 63, remains in the Political Bureau as does the party leader Roberto Morales Ojeda, born in 1967.
The average age of the Political Bureau was previously close to 70 years and eight of its members were over 75. Now it is considerably reduced, as a symbol of the “generational change” promoted by Raúl Castro with the purpose of handing over the command witness to a new generation of leaders committed to “historical continuity” and the socialist model.
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