First Prime Minister since 1976 May Signal a Shift in Cuba

Jorge Dominguez
May 2 · 2 min read
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With an extensive Latin American research background, Dr. Jorge I. Dominguez was a longtime professor with the Harvard University Department of Government. A particular focus for Dr. Jorge I. Dominguez has been on understanding the political and economic challenges that Communist Cuba faces.

As reported by NBC News, in December 2019 Cuba selected its first prime minister in four decades. In parliamentary session, President Miguel Diaz-Canel named Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz to the position. Over the past 16 years, Cruz has overseen an expanding tourist economy that has brought much-needed hard currency to the country.

Confirming this move was the late Fidel Castro’s brother Raul, who is 88 years old and continues to head the Communist Party. The country’s last prime minister was Fidel Castro, who also held absolute power in the country, and eliminated the position in 1976.

Former senior Cuban diplomat Carlos Alzugaray described the move as reflecting a shift toward “a more collective government” that does not concentrate power in a single figure. He noted that Raul Castro had stated publicly in 2006, upon assuming the presidency, that no single person could take the place of Fidel Castro, so everyone would have to.

With Cuba facing major hurdles that include a tightening US embargo and the drying up of aid from longtime ally Venezuela, the new prime minister position seems to lay the ground for significant economic reforms. With pockets of market-oriented structure already existing within a command economy, a more comprehensively mixed economy may eventually emerge.

Jorge Dominguez

Written by

Currently in retirement, Jorge Dominguez most recently served as the Antonio Madero Professor for the Study of Mexico at Harvard University for 12 years.

Jorge Dominguez

Written by

Currently in retirement, Jorge Dominguez most recently served as the Antonio Madero Professor for the Study of Mexico at Harvard University for 12 years.

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