Raul Castro Elected President of Cuba
The mandate is to continue strengthening the revolution, said Raul Castro at the conclusion of the inaugural session of the Cuban parliament on Sunday. Jose Ramon Machado Ventura was elected the new first vice president and Ricardo Alarcon reelected to head the legislature.
The people’s mandate to this legislature is clear: to continue strengthening the revolution at a historic time that demands us to be dialectical and creative, as Fidel Castro alerted us in his reflection dated January 14, said Raul Castro in his closing speech Sunday afternoon at the inaugural session of the new legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Power. He spoke minutes after being unanimously elected president of the Council of State and also becoming the head of the Cuban government, as established in the constitution.
Also elected to the Council of State were: Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, first vice president; Juan Almeida Bosque, Abelardo Colome Ibarra, Carlos Lage Davila, Esteban Lazo and Julio Casas Regueiro, vice presidents, and Jose Miguel Miyar Barruecos, secretary, and 23 other members. Thirteen of the 31 Council of State members are newly elected representatives (41.9 percent) in the body that represents the National Assembly between its sessions.
On this historic day the leadership of the parliament was also elected by its members for the next five years. Ricardo Alarcon de Quesada and Jaime Crombet Hernandez-Baquero were reelected president and vice president, while Miriam Brito Sarroca is the new secretary.
During the opening of the session, led by Maria Esther Reus, president of the National Electoral Commission (CEN), a request from Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro made public in recent days to cast an absentee ballot for the parliament leadership and the Council of State was approved. Council of State members Jose M. Miyar and Carlos Valenciaga were given the responsibility to visit Fidel and allow him to carry out his wish. The two ballots were later placed in the ballot box during the two votes.
The swearing in ceremony took place after validating the certificates of election of all the 614 representatives and the CEN president reported on the make up of the parliament. The oath was read by the youngest legislator; 18 year old Liaena Hernandez Martinez from the Guantanamo municipality of Manuel Tames. At 10:54 a.m. on February 24, the 113th anniversary of the beginning of the Guerra Necesaria (independence war organized by Jose Marti), the 7th legislature of the Cuban state’s highest body of power was established.
Later, in two separate moments, Amarilys Perez, president of the National Candidates Commission, presented the proposals for both the leadership of the legislature and the Council of State. She explained that they were the result of an exhaustive consultation process. Both lists were approved unanimously. In the first case, special recognition was given to Ernesto Suarez Mendez who served as the parliament’s secretary for nearly 20 years.
It was a memorable day —whose results traveled the world and made headlines in important media—, especially for all of us Cubans who always had Fidel present and admired the gesture of Raul to leave his seat vacant and express: "I take on the responsibility entrusted to me deeply convinced that, as I have often said, there is only one Commander in Chief of the Cuban Revolution. Fidel is Fidel; we all know it very well. Fidel is irreplaceable and the people shall continue his work when he is no longer physically with us; although his ideas will always be with us, the same ideas that have made it possible to build the beacon of dignity and justice our country represents."
- Key address by Comrade Raul Castro Ruz, President of the State Council and the Council of Ministers, at the closing session of the First Session of the 7th legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Power:
- The structure of Cuban State:
- CUBA: A Strong, Essentially Democratic Revolution:
- New Cuban Parliament: Genuine Popular Representation:
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"Mission against Terror":
"Bacardí, the bat's secret":