Proceedings of the 7th Congress
The 7th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba opened at 10 am on Saturday, April 16 with the presentation of the Congress’ Central Report by First Secretary Raul Castro in a plenary session. One thousand delegates are taking part in the Congress. Following the Central Report delegates went to work in commissions which continue on April 17. The plenary will again meet on the April 18 to discuss reports from the commissions. That afternoon will be devoted to the introduction, analysis and vote on the proposed Party Central Committee candidature. On April 19, also in plenary session, the Central Committee elected will be announced, along with Political Bureau members, as well as the First and Second Party Secretaries. The closing session of the Congress will be held that afternoon.
There are four commissions. The first is discussing the conceptualisation of Cuba’s socio-economic model. The second addresses the development plan for the upcoming period through 2030, the nation’s vision, priorities and strategic sectors. The third is evaluating the implementation of the Guidelines approved by the 6th Congress and their updating for the next five years. The fourth commission will analyze progress made toward meeting the objectives agreed upon by the First Party Conference.
Besides delegates, there are 280 invitees. The basic criteria for their selection, beyond the personal recognition which the invitation implies, was the contribution they can make given their knowledge and experience in different areas which are being addressed by the Congress, both in the economic arena, as well as the social and ideological.
Among the invitees are Party cadres, deputies to the National Assembly, representatives from Central State Administration bodies, Cuban civil society, combatants, researchers from scientific centers, university professors, intellectuals, and press editors, among others.
The eldest delegate is José Ramón Fernández, Hero of the Republic of Cuba, a founder of the Party and combatant, with an outstanding, lifelong record. He is 92 years of age. The youngest delegate is Idaliena Díaz Casamayor, from Guantánamo, president of a People’s Council, and a deputy to the National Assembly. She is 27.
It is natural that comrades with considerable experience and long careers in the Party’s ranks are elected to attend an event of this nature. The fact that there are 55 young delegates is a demonstration of how much each one of them has been able to contribute personally, despite their youth, but, above all their presence represents recognition of a generation which is giving continuity to the work of their grandparents and parents.
There are many other youth who could have been elected as delegates, just as there are many other comrades who founded the Party; participated in the literacy campaign; fought in the underground, the Sierra, Girón, the Escambray, and Angola; who cut sugar cane in critical people’s harvests; built communities, hospitals, schools, factories. They are all represented at the Congress, along with the youngest.
Also participating are 14 members of Party units in Cuba’s international solidarity missions, from five countries: Venezuela, Brazil, Haiti, Bolivia and Ecuador.
Women constitute 43 per cent of the delegates, while 36 per cent are Black or of mixed race.
In both cases, these figures match their composition within the Party membership. The percentages are 2.5 and 4.5 per cent greater, respectively, than those from the 6th Congress.
The Congress is a reflection of the membership and Cuban society as a whole. There are a significant number of Party cadre, from the national, municipal and district levels, as well as leaders of grassroots organizations (Party units and committees). There are workers, farmers, technicians, state and enterprise leaders, researchers, economists, professors and teachers, healthcare workers, combatants from the FAR and Minit, intellectuals and artists, jurists, journalists. As evidence of the transformations advanced by the 6th Congress, some delegates work in the non-state sector of the economy. This is the Party of the Cuban nation, not a part of it.