News on Cuba - February 25, 2013 Print

Raul Castro Gives Closing Speech of Cuban Parliament Session

HAVANA, Cuba,  Feb 24 (acn) Cuban President Raul Castro gave the closing remarks of the parliamentary session that set up the new National Assembly of People’s Power with its new president, and elected the new Council of State.

Raul said that upcoming modifications of the country’s constitution include the limit of a top 10-year period for main state and government posts, also with limited age to occupy such responsibilities. However, he said that in his specific case, this will be his last term in office.

The deputies elected Miguel Diaz-Canel as first vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, in a decision of historic significance because it is a step towards the future configuration of the country’s leadership, through a progressive and orderly transfer of power to the new generations, said Raul.

He recalled that 41.9 percent of the members elected to the Council of State are women, 38.6 percent is made up of black of colored persons, while the average age of its members is 57 years, with 61.3 of them having been born after the 1959 triumph of the Cuban Revolution.

At the same time, said Raul, the Parliament underwent a 67.26 renovation of its members, with 48.86 percent of women, 37.9 persons of color, while 82.68 percent of deputies graduated from higher education, and the average age is 48 years.

Raul said that the abovementioned data confirm the quality of the Cuban electoral system and the potential of the people’s power bodies, including the national parliament to meet the important duties established by the country’s constitution.

In that regard, Raul said that the current legislature is in charge of undertaking an intense legislative work to strengthen institutional order and to implement the social and economic guidelines adopted by the Communist Party, which now entail far-reaching, deeper and more complex issues.

Referring to the election of Esteban Lazo as new Parliament president, Raul said that it is an honor that the assembly is being chaired by a black man of humble family, a former sugar cane cutter, who was able to get an economy diploma after huge effort and without abandoning his political responsibilities.

Referring to the transformations taking place in the country Raul said that they will continue to progress with no haste but without any pause, by protecting the people and by climbing the barriers of an obsolete mentality in order to favor the action of productive forces and the advancement of Cuban economy, along with the protection of the social achievements of the Cuban Revolution, such as education, public health, culture, sports.

The Cuban president stressed the need to strongly fight illegalities, indiscipline and any act of corruption.

Raul reiterated the Cuban people’s congratulations to Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa for his electoral victory and he conveyed fraternal greetings to Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez  and his people by ratifying the solidarity by the Cuban Parliament and the people of Cuba.

Raul said that Cuba will continue to demand the release of the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters held in the U.S. and he concluded his speech by citing the concept of the word Revolution, first given by Fidel Castro in the year 2000.


Raul Castro Re-elected Cuban President

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 24 (acn) The National Assembly of People’s Power (Cuban Parliament) ratified Raul Castro as President of the Council of State and elected Miguel Diaz-Canel as First Vice-President.

The 605 deputies at the session, which set up the new parliament on Sunday, elected all 31 members of the Council of State, which represents the Parliament and implements its accords in the periods between its two annual sessions.

Miguel Diaz-Canel is a 52-year-old electronic engineer. He is member of the Political Bureau of Cuba’s Communist Party and he was the first Party secretary in the provinces of Villa Clara and Holguin. He was also minister of Higher Education and vice-president of the Council of Ministers.

Other vice-presidents of the Council of State elected in the session were Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, second Communist Party secretary; Gladys Bejerano, general comptroller; Ramiro Valdes, vice-president of the Council of Ministers; Lazara Mercedes Lopez, first Communist Party secretary in Havana, and Salvador Valdes, general secretary of the Cuban Workers Confederation. Homero Acosta was ratified as secretary of the Council  of State.

Following the setting  up of the new parliament at Havana’s Conventions Palace, the deputies elected Esteban Lazo as president of the legislative body for its 8th Legislature and ratified Ana Maria Mari as vice-president, and Miriam Brito as secretary.


Fidel  Castro: We fight for Ideas, not for Glory

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 25 (ACN) “We do not struggle for our own glory or for honors; we fight for ideas we consider fair and to which millions of Cubans have dedicated their youth and their lives,” said Fidel Castro in his address to the Eight Legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Pwer, which was set up on Sunday.

Fidel said he deeply appreciated the noble gesture by the people to have elected him a Parliament deputy. He said he never thought he would live that long and that his enemies would be that clumsy in their hateful practice of eliminating their adversaries, who are determined to fight.

“In such an unequal battle, our people proved their astonishing capacity to resist and overcome,” he pointed out, and stressed that some eight hundred thousand Cubans have met internationalist missions.

The Cuban Revolution leader recalled important moments of recent Cuban history, like the 1962 missile crisis, where the island was about to turn into a nuclear battlefield; the 1961 Bay of Pigs mercenary invasion backed by Washington; the participation of Cuban internationalist troops in the victory of Cuito Cuanavale, which led to the end of the former  Apartheid System.

Fidel Castro said that after the 1959 Revolution triumph, the domestic battle targeted political ignorance and anti-socialist ideas instilled by the bourgeoisie and US imperialism. The fight of social classes unleashed just few miles from the United States was the most efficient political school for the country.

However, he said, the big battle now focuses the need to deal with bad habits and mistakes that are being committed by many citizens, including Communist Party members in different social areas.

Fidel said that humanity is now experiencing a unique stage, which is quite different from centuries ago. The world population increased to 7 billion people, an alarming figure expressing a demand for vital foodstuffs that science, technology and the natural resources of the planet are quite far from meeting.

Fidel also referred to current natural threats on humanity, such as the consequences of climate change.

He concluded his statements by paying tribute Cuban National Hero Jose Marti on the 160th anniversary of his birthday and on the 118th anniversary of the start of Cuban independence war against Spanish colonial rule. He said Marti was the revolutionary, anti-imperialist and bolivarian man that instilled in the Cuban youths the first ideas about their duty.


Deputies Elect New First Vice President of the Cuban Government

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 24 (acn) The Cuban Parliament elected Miguel Diaz-Canel las first vice-president of the Cuban Council of Ministers on the proposal of President Raul Castro Ruz. Diaz-Canel had previously been elected first vice-president of the Council of State.

Miguel Diaz-Canel is a 52-year-old electronic engineer. He is member of the Political Bureau of Cuba’s Communist Party and he was the first Party secretary in the provinces of Villa Clara and Holguin. He was also minister of Higher Education and vice-president of the Council of Ministers.


Esteban Lazo, New President of the Cuban Parliament

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 24 (acn) Following the setting up of the new National Assembly of People’s Power, Cuban deputies elected Esteban Lazo Hernandez as new Parliament president for the next five-year-term Eight Legislature.

Through direct and secret vote, the 606 deputies participating in the parliamentary session, including Revolution leader Fidel Castro and President Raul Castro, ratified Ana Maria Mari Machado as Parliament vice-president, and Miriam Brito as secretary of the legislative body.

Esteban Lazo is member of the Politbureau of Cuba’s Communist Party and he has been first Communist Party secretary in the provinces of Matanzas, Santiago de Cuba and Havana over the past years.

In presenting the candidature project of the assembly’s presidency, Amarilys Perez who heads the National Candidature Commission, said that all legislators were consulted and that the new Parliament legislature has the challenge of implementing of the social and political guidelines adopted by the latest Congress of the Cuban Communist Party.


Cuban Communist Party Central Committee Held Plenary Session

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 25 (acn) The Central Committee of Cuba’s Communist Party held a plenary session, headed by First Party Secretary Raul Castro, prior to the setting on Sunday of the new National Assembly of People’s Power.

During the session, Raul Castro presented the proposals for the new Council of State under the principle that “though the Communist Party does not nominate anybody, it cannot be foreign to the election of the top government leaders.”

According to Granma news paper, the Central Committee members approved the proposals that were later submitted to the parliament, in tune with article five of the Cuban Constitution, which reads that “the Communist Party (…), organized vanguard of the Cuban nation, is the top leading force of society and the state.”

Raul Castro explained about the proposal of Miguel Diaz-Canel as first vice-president of the Council of State and other members of that Parliament body. He said that this was the first step to orderly and progressively hand over to the new generations of Cubans the country’s top government posts, a process that will continue during the next five years.

The action is in tune with the accords adopted by the 6th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party and its First National Conference in relation to the policy of cadres.

Raul acknowledged the attitude of former first vice-president Jose Ramon Machado Ventura and  army corps General Abelardo Colome in offering their state posts in favor of promoting new generations as part of the principle of continuity and renovation that marks the future of the country.

The first secretary of the Communist Party also stressed the work of the Electoral and Candidature commissions, which was reflected in the new parliament, which has a better balance of its membership, given by race, age, educational level, and genre, among other aspects.

Raul said that the new parliament will have intense legislative work to do, aimed at strengthening Cuban institutional order and at implementing the economic and social guidelines adopted by the Cuban Communist Party.