25 April 2016
Issue number 868
In a reflection of the Cuban Government’s concern about delivering gradual and stable economic change, Cuba’s Seventh Communist Party Congress ended on April 19, stressing that the focus over the next five years will be on implementing the continuing process of economic reform.
Cuban reports said that delegates ratified the full Central Report delivered at the opening of the Congress on April 16 by President Castro in his capacity as First Secretary of the Party (full details in Cuba Briefing April 18, 2016).
Then, President Castro had made clear that continuing the process of gradual reform, addressing citizens’ concerns about basic needs relating to prices and wages, the merging of the country’s complicated dual currency system, introducing constitutional changes in relation to the Party leadership, and enshrining Cuba’s socialist objectives in a revised constitution, should guide Cuba’s government over the next five years.
Although President Castro noted to delegates that “the seventh congress will be the last one led by the historic generation,” and repeated earlier statements that he would demit office before in the next Congress in 2021, it was clear from both his opening and closing remarks that any rapid transition to a new generation of leaders will be delayed in favour of a focus delivering economic change.
Over the three days of the April 16-19 Congress, delegates considered in four commissions the content of President Castro’s report and voted on membership of the Politburo and the Party’s Central Committee.
Cuban reports made clear that at the end of the meeting the four documents presented and discussed were agreed and would go to Communist Party members in the country, the Young Communist League, representatives from mass grass-roots organisations, and to other sectors of the Cuban society for discussion before being finally adopted.
In remarks in the final session, President Castro said that this process is expected to conclude before the year ends, and that the updating of Cuba’s planned economic model will not be delivered over one or two five-year periods, but rather “will continue at a steady pace, slowly but steadily”.
This is an extract from the Caribbean Council’s weekly Cuba Briefing, a leading publication that provides detailed and accurate news on economic, social and political developments inside Cuba to corporate interests with a long term economic relationship with the island.
The publication is available internationally on a subscription-only basis for those in business, government and the academic world who wish to understand on a weekly basis developments relating to Cuba.