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Cuba to hold Eighth Communist Party Congress

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Cuba to hold Eighth Communist Party Congress

cuba constitutional reform
Photo: Irene Perez/Cubadebate/Reuters

Cuba’s Communist Party will today begin its eighth Congress, which is set to conclude on April 19.

The Congress, which meets every five years, is the most important function of the Communist Party as it elects leaders and sets governance guidelines for the next term. As Cuba experienced an 11% GDP contraction in 2020—resulting from former US president Donald Trump’s tightening of Washington’s embargo against Havana—the new five-year plan (2021-2025) will emphasise accelerating Cuba’s pace of economic reforms. Likewise, the summit will officiate the Party leadership’s transfer from former president Raul Castro to Miguel Diaz-Canel, who replaced Castro as president in 2018.

The new five-year plan will indicate the key concepts needed to drive socio-economic development, including measures to control inflation like the recent currency reform. Still, radical change in Cuba’s one-party socialist model is unlikely. In the short-term, the new plan will raise questions regarding Havana’s stance on US relations. If the Party commits to improving citizens’ lives, Washington might redefine its policy towards the island, considering unilateral sanctions have not worked over many decades, with the possibility of allowing private investments in Cuba. Likewise, expect today’s summit to shed light on how much Castro will participate in Diaz-Canel’s leadership.

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