Cuban President Raul Castro presided on Monday over the Sixth Plenary Session of Cuba’s Communist Party Central Committee, which focused on the role of the Party, the country’s development and the international panorama.

Shortly before the meeting concluded, Raul Castro told participants that the Political Bureau had agreed to propose to the Central Committee that the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba be held some time near the end of 2009.

IMPROVING THE ROLE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY. REINFORCING INSTITUTIONAL ORGANIZATION.

Raul Castro, who is also the second secretary of the Central Committee, said that as difficulties increase, so should order and discipline; and he insisted on the need to reinforce the country’s institutions.

The Cuban president said that the country’s Communist Party must continue to improve its performance and strengthen its authority in society, and affirmed that a major step in that direction had been taken. He added that the Party’s role as the leading organization in Cuba had also been consolidated and that this will allow it to face future challenges and guarantee the continuity of the Revolution, as Fidel Castro had said, once the older generation of leaders is not present.

Raul Castro announced that Vice President Jose Ramon Fernandez would be taking over the role of overseeing the Ministries of Education and Higher Education, and the Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation, along with other activities related to education such as military universities and educational centers.

The Cuban president told the party leaders that food production is a national security issue that needs to become one of their principal focuses. He especially insisted that Communist Party leaders at the municipal and provincial levels give their full support and attention to new government initiatives in agriculture and that they go out and talk directly with food producers, so that that their efforts are hands on and not just bureaucratic.

DEATH PENALTY COMMUTED TO LIFE IMPRISONMENT FOR A GROUP OF INMATES

In his final address of the plenary session, Raul Castro announced that the Cuban Council of State had decided to commute the death penalty to life imprisonment for a group of inmates. He recalled that in 2000 the country had decided not to apply the death penalty, but that this decision was overturned in 2003 to stop a violent wave of more than 30 plans and attempts to hijack planes and boats —activities that were encouraged by US policy, just after Washington launched its war on Iraq.

Raul Castro said that the decision was in tune with the humanitarian and ethical conduct of the Cuban Revolution, in a spirit of justice and not revenge, and was a sovereign act, free from external pressures. He added that Fidel Castro also favors the elimination of the death penalty once the country has the right conditions to do so. He said that the agreement reached by the Council of State is not an elimination of the death penalty from the Cuban Penal Code: “We can not appear to be disarmed in the face of an empire that continues to harass and attack us.”

ELECTION OF THREE NEW MEMBERS TO THE POLITICAL BUREAU

The Sixth Plenary Session elected Commander of the Revolution Ramiro Valdes, Salvador Valdes Mesa and Army General Alvaro Lopez Miera to the Political Bureau of Cuba’s Communist Party Central Committee. Also approved was the establishment of a Central Committee Commission made up of the president, first vice president and vice presidents of the Council of State in order to streamline the decision-making process. The Commission members are: Raul Castro, Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, Juan Almeida Bosque, Abelardo Colome Ibarra, Carlos Lage Davila, Esteban Lazo Hernandez and Julio Casas Regueiro.

ESTABLISHMENT OF SEVEN PERMANENT COMMISSIONS

The Plenary Session also agreed to set up seven permanent commissions subordinated to the Political Bureau and each one presided by a member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee in the areas of: ideology and culture, the economy, agriculture, substituting imports and increasing exports, education, science and sports, and international relations.

The commissions will analyze important issues and make suggestions, recommendations and proposals at the request of the Communist Party leadership.

Source
Cuban Agency News
La Agencia Cubana de Noticias (ACN) es una división de la Agencia de Información Nacional (AIN) de Cuba fundada el 21 de mayo de 1974.

Cuban News Agency