The Cuban regime and the ruling Communist Party are preparing a grand-national conference to try and change the “mentality” of Cubans so that the capitalist-oriented economic reforms and timid political changes sponsored by President Raul Castro are better understood and accepted, according to party sources.
The big conference is scheduled for 28 January, the first in half a century and will debate sensitive issues such as racial and sexual discrimination, promoting economic sustainability through small profit oriented enterprises and a proposal from Raul to limit to 10 years office tenure in government political posts, including that of President and of First Secretary of the (only) party allowed to function in the country.
“In January we have the big celebration of the National Conference of the party so we don’t have much time to rest”, said Raul Castro, 80, when the closing session of Parliament last Friday.
“If we don’t change our mentality, we will not be able to address the necessary changes to guarantee sustainability” of the regime, he had warned during the famous last August first meeting.
Castro has proposed limiting to two consecutive periods of five years the mandates of the main posts in government and in the party, which implies quite a revolution in the only country left in the Americas with a one-party regime where leaders spend all their lives in such positions.
Raul Castro was previously Minister of the Armed Forces for almost fifty years, the same time spent by his brother Fidel as head of state and who handed office to him in 2006 following serious health problems.