HAVANA – Delegates at the 7th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, or PCC, the only political party permitted on the island, continued their work in Havana on Sunday divided into four separate committees, which began the second day in session debating the report presented the day before by President Raul Castro, first secretary of the ruling organization.
Committee deliberations are guided by members of the Politburo – the top leadership of the PCC – Miguel Diaz-Canel, Esteban Lazo, Marino Murillo and Salvador Valdes Mesa, official media reported Sunday at the beginning of the second day of the congress, from which the accredited foreign press on the island has been barred.
Subjects being discussed by these committees are the “conceptualization” of the economic and social model to which Cuba aspires, the “core ideas and strategic sectors that will form the basis of a national plan for economic and social development up to the year 2030,” the progress of reforms established in recent years, and the degree to which goals laid down by the first party congress in 2012 have been achieved.
This Sunday, the second day of the Communist Party congress, the committees are expected to come up with their respective resolutions on these subjects for their subsequent discussion and approval by a plenary session of the congress when it meets again on Monday.
On Saturday during his inaugural address, Raul Castro announced a series of measures designed to guarantee that a new generation will take over the Communist Party, along with a constitutional reform that includes the “modernization” of socialism, while making it clear that the current one-party system will be maintained and that the island will not return to capitalism.
He also said that the state-run company will continue to be the main economic model for socialist Cuba, and that the reforms categorically “specify that non-government businesses will never be allowed to concentrate property or riches.”
The reforms undertaken during Raul Castro’s presidency have led to an average economic growth of 2.8 percent annually over the past five years, not enough to make a real difference to the nation’s economy, Economy Minister Marino Murillo admitted to the assembled delegates.
Among the subjects sparking the most debate in the congressional committees, which began their sessions Saturday afternoon, are new formulas for managing the private sector economy, differences in purchasing power among different sectors of the population, and the price of food and basic products.