Wednesday, April 20, 2011
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC:  Fidel Castro at Cuba congress alongside Raul

It is the first time the two have appeared publicly together since Fidel, 84, handed over the presidency to Raul five years ago.

Congress also elected Raul, 79, to take over from Fidel as first secretary.

Communist Party stalwart Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, 80, was elected second secretary.

This was the first party congress held in 14 years.  Other highlights include:

the congress decided to allow Cubans to buy and sell their homes for the first time since the communist revolution in 1959.

For the past 50 years, Cubans have only been allowed to pass on homes to their children, or to swap them through a complicated and often corrupt system.


Raul Castro also told delegates that top political positions should be limited to two five-year terms, and promised "systematic rejuvenation" of the government.

He said the party leadership was in need of renewal and should subject itself to severe self-criticism.

We shall see how much severe self-criticism is deployed in the coming years.

Although I will say that when upper leadership is in its late 70s and early 80s, imposing two five-year terms shouldn’t be too difficult to accomplish.

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