MEXICO CITY — Raúl Castro introduced Friday that he was handing over management of Cuba’s ruling Communist Occasion to a youthful era “filled with ardour and anti-imperialist spirit,” leaving the island nation with no Castro in a high management function 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 Occasion congress on Friday. He’s anticipated to formally step down and announce his substitute earlier than the convention ends on Monday.
Cuba’s management will seemingly announce additional reforms throughout the get together congress, permitting for extra free-market exercise and reorienting the nation’s economic 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 Occasion 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 keen 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 economic system in shambles.
“After all 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 by a interval of widespread market reforms.
Mr. Alzugaray added that on basic points like relations with the USA and on important financial points, Mr. Castro might weigh in from his retirement. However he’ll seemingly not intrude within the day-to-day operating of Cuba.
“It gained’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 depart workplace.”
Mr. Castro had introduced in 2016 that he would quit his submit as secretary-general of the Communist Occasion throughout this yr’s get together congress, to be able to hand over energy to a youthful era. The secretary-general is essentially the most highly effective place in Cuba, extra highly effective than the presidency, seen because the second most senior place.
Mr. Díaz-Canel will seemingly be elected as the brand new secretary-general of the Communist Occasion 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 era,” the veterans of the armed revolution.
Cuba has been dominated for many years by an growing older political class, lots of whom launched the revolution within the Fifties and are seen as proof against the reforms Mr. Castro has tried to push by.
Maria Abi-Habib reported from Mexico Metropolis. Ed Agustin contributed from Havana, Cuba.