HAVANA (CBS4) – For the first time since it’s founding 46-years-ago, former Cuban leader Fidel Castro was not included in the leadership of Cuba’s Communist Party.
The news came on the last day of the Cuban Communist Party Congress. It also came on a day when Fidel made a surprise appearance at a meeting of the Communist Party Congress to the sound of thunderous applause.
Decked out in a blue track suit over a checkered shire, the 84-year old revolutionary icon looked unsteady on his feet as he clutched the aide’s arm, and at times slumped in his chair. Many could be seen crying as he was helped to his place on stage, then stood at attention next to his brother during the playing of Cuba’s national anthem.
But he became more animated as the proceedings continued, especially when Raul’s name was read out by a party official announcing the members of the party’s Central Committee.
Raul Castro was named first secretary of Cuba’s Communist Party. For the first time since the party’s creation 46 years ago his brother Fidel, however, was not included in its leadership. Instead, Raul Castro announced that Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, an 80-year-old longtime confidante, would be his No. 2.
Ramiro Valdes, a 78-year-old vice president, was named to the No. 3 spot. Several younger people were added to the 15-member leadership group, but in lesser positions.
The Cuban Communist Party Congress was expected to approve 300 economic proposals including measures to: recommend the legalization the buying and selling of private property, which has been heavily restricted since the resolution.
Another a proposal would eliminate the monthly ration rook, providing seed capital for would-be entrepreneurs, and eliminating the island’s unique dual-currency system.
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