Crisis in Cuba: Regime fires foreign trade minister and changes pile up in Díaz-Canel cabinet

Cuba's Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment Minister Ricardo Caprizas (REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini/File Photo)

The Cuban Council of State was suspended Ricardo Caprizas He will retain the post of deputy prime minister, albeit as foreign trade and foreign investment minister, state television said on Thursday.

Caprizas, 87, has headed the foreign trade ministry since April 2023, when Cuba was a dictator. Miguel Diaz-CanelRecently appointed for a second term, he was replaced Rodrigo Malmierga.

Henceforth, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment will be headed by its former Deputy First Minister. Oscar Perez-Oliva FragaAccording to the information note, the 53-year-old electronic engineer, at the same time Carlos Ruiz Jorge Mendes3 years, was appointed Deputy Minister of the same portfolio.

It is a new movement announced by the Cuban president, which includes other public officials, including the former Minister of Economy and Planning. Alejandro Gil, Removed from office.

Kaprizas was already in charge of the foreign trade ministry For 20 years (1980-2000) and has held other key positions in the Cuban government such as Head of Economy and Planning (2016-2018) and Vice-President of the Council of Ministers (2008-2019).

It has been there for years The main negotiator of Cuba's foreign debt with its foreign creditors, Both public and private, and holds the position of Deputy of the Cuban Parliament. He was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC, the only legal body). This is important in negotiations with Russia, China, Iran and VenezuelaThe island's strategic allies are in the midst of a deep economic crisis sweeping the country.

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With Cabrisas they add The six ministers dismissed in the first year of Díaz-Canel's second term, Some of the “cadre movements” last February included the high-profile dismissal of then-Economy and Planning Minister Alejandro Gil, now under investigation for corruption.

Recent months have seen an extraordinary number of changes in high-level political positions in the country, with a total of ten governors, deputy governors and first provincial secretaries of the PCC. In most cases, the reasons for this decision are not disclosed.

Former Cuban Economy Minister Alejandro Gil, in an archive photo (EFE/Yander Zamora)

Alejandro Gil, Cuba's former Minister of Economy and Planning, who was fired on February 2, is being investigated criminally for the alleged crime. CorruptionThe island's top political official has spent more than a decade investigating corruption.

In an extraordinary statement, Díaz-Canel said that after a “rigorous investigation” a series of “serious errors” in Gil's conduct had been found with a high “level of verification”.

He said the former minister had admitted to “serious charges” and had consequently resigned from the positions he still held as a member of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party, the island's hardline center of political power. A deputy in the National Assembly of People's Power (ANPP).

“As part of the unchanging ethos of the Cuban revolution in these 65 years, the leadership of our party and government has never allowed and will not allow the proliferation of corruption, simulation and insensitivity,” said Díaz-Canel.

Gill took over from Diaz-Canel in 2018 and served in the post until February 2. He is the highest-ranking official in the Cuban government and the PCC has been investigated for corruption for more than a decade.

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Gill's tenure as head of the Department of Economy and Planning was controversial because of a series of measures that failed to resolve the crisis Cuba has faced for more than three years and repair its severe economic distortions. Indeed, his surprise dismissal has so far been attributed mainly to his managerial errors.

((with information from EFE and Reuters)

Esmond Harmon

"Entrepreneur. Social media advocate. Amateur travel guru. Freelance introvert. Thinker."

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