Cuba after the 6th party congress: How far will the reforms go?

July 7th, 2011   Theme: Cuba Libre!

Report by Frank Priess for the Kondrad Adenauer Stiftung, July 7 2011

The 6th Party Congress of the Cuban Communist Party had Raúl Castro’s signature all over it. Debates on the economy were the order of the day, which is hardly surprising, given the Caribbean island’s disastrous supply situation. Raúl’s brother Fidel, who will be 85 in August, has handed his last official state position over to his 79-year-old younger brother. The old guard still dominates the leadership structure. The release of political prisoners and the beginnings of dialogue with the church are signs of a change in policies, but the question is how far these changes can and should go. However, once again there is no talk of political reform or more civil liberties.
The 6th Party Congress of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) has been long overdue as the last one was in 1997 and original intention was to hold it every five years. It finally took place from April 16 to 19 in Havana, attended by 997 delegates, exactly 50 years after the failed U.S. Bay of Pigs operation, which was once again marked with a big military parade. Once again the communist leadership displayed their penchant for symbolism. One of the honoured guests was Margot Honecker, widow since 1994 of the long-time head of state and party leader of the GDR, who celebrated her 84th birthday during the Congress. Read the report at

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