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Cuba

Yearbook 2011

Cuba. For the first time in 14 years, the Cuban Communist Party gathered for Congress April 16-19. According to Countryaah official site, President Raúl Castro admitted in his opening speech that the Cuban revolution has lost momentum, mainly because of the complex structure and over-bureaucracy of the party. As a cure, Castro emphasized the need to mobilize the youth and also launched a fairly radical proposal to revitalize the party - limiting the term of office for members of the Politburo and the Cabinet and for the president to a maximum of two five-year terms. He even argued that the party is the foremost enemy of change and that its reactionary fundamentalism must be eliminated as well as the use of "old-fashioned methods and terms". In the economic sphere, it was indeed established that Cuba's economy is a socialist planning economy and not a market economy, but at the same time, all Marxist terminology was missing from the 32-page final document, and both the need for a larger tax-paying private sector and a reduction in "paternalistic" subsidies were highlighted. Some immediate changes were that the membership in the Politburo was reduced from 24 to 15, which meant that the high middle age, 67 years, was maintained and that the military element increased. On the other hand, the party's Central Committee increased the proportion of women from 13 to 42% and the share of Afrocubans to 31%.

2011 Cuba

The poor sugar harvest in 2010, the worst since 1906, led to intensified efforts to streamline the sugar industry. President Castro announced in October that the number of sugar consumption will be reduced and that the Ministry of Sugar will be replaced by a holding company. Milk production was also so poor that the official agency Granma published a critical report on it.

On October 14, Cuba's most famous dissident Laura Pollán died in a heart attack. She was one of the leader figures in Las Damas de Blanco ("Ladies in White"), relatives of the 75 dissidents who were sentenced to long prison sentences in 2003 and who every Sunday since then carried out silent protest walks, each with his gladiolus and photos of his relatives. It is largely Pollán's merit that Ladies in White has become Cuba's internationally best-known protest group and that the 75 dissidents were finally released in February. Ironically, the month before Pollán's death, more dissidents were arrested than during any single month for the past 30 years.

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