Cabinet reshuffle in Cuba

January 7, 2011 12:00 am

, HAVANA, Jan 7- President Raul Castro announced a reshuffle of key cabinet posts, relieving a veteran of the Cuban revolution of his communications portfolio and sacking another minister.

Ramiro Valdes, a 78-year-old politburo veteran, was relieved of his post as minister of informatics and communications but retained his construction ministry portfolio in a move not necessarily seen as a demotion.

Valdes, who fought alongside revolutionary leader Fidel Castro in the attack on the Moncada Barracks in 1953, is a former interior minister and vice prime-minister who Raul Castro made a government vice president in 2009.

Construction Minister Fidel Figueroa was removed from his post for "errors committed in his job," according to a statement read on state television, which did not elaborate.

Since assuming power from his ailing brother Fidel in 2006, Raul Castro has made some 30 changes to the Cuban cabinet.

Castro, 79, has proposed far-reaching economic reforms that include eventually cutting one million government jobs, encouraging some new foreign investment and less government interference in the market.

The reforms, which would look to do away with state subsidies and foresee the setting up of a tax system, represent a dramatic shake-up of an economic model that has survived two decades since the Soviet Union dissolved.

They are up for debate in April at the Cuban Communist Party Congress, the first such meeting 1997.


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