Cuba Appoints A Prime Minister for the First Time Since 1976

Manuel Marrero Cruz (facing camera) embraces Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel during the closing session at the National Assembly in Havana, Cuba, on Saturday.

HAVANA, Cuba – For the first time since 1976, Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel named Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero as the country’s Prime Minister.

The last Prime Minister of Cuba was Fidel Castro from 1959 to 1976. When the National Assembly created a new constitution in 1976, the post of Prime Minister was eliminated and Castro was named President.

Castro and his brother Raul held the presidential post along with Cuba’s other highest positions, like Communist Party leader, until this year, when Raul Castro stepped down as president after 10 years (2008 – 2018).

In February 2019, Cubans voted for the implementation of a new constitution to replace the 1976 Soviet-era charter enacted under Castro. Among other things, the new constitution outlines the specific responsibilities of the president and the new post of prime minister.

The post was nominated by the President and unanimously approved by the National Assembly.

Under the latest constitution, the prime minister will serve a five-year term and will have responsibility for the daily operations of government as head of the Council of Ministers.

During the closing session at the National Assembly of Popular Power on December 21, Diaz-Canel cited Marrero’s experience in negotiating with foreign investors as one of his prime qualifications, according to Cuban state media.

Marrero, 56, has been tourism minister for 16 years, presiding over an increase in visitor arrivals and a hotel construction boom that has made tourism one of the most important sectors of the Cuban economy.

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