Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cuba: Meet the new boss . . .

same as the old boss.

Cuba's Communist Party chose the old guard to oversee a new economic course for the Caribbean island on Tuesday, selecting President Raul Castro and First Vice President Jose Machado Ventura to lead the country's highest political body.

The choice of Castro, who replaces his older brother Fidel Castro as first secretary of the ruling party's Central Committee, was expected.

But Machado Ventura's appointment as second secretary would likely disappoint Cubans and others hoping for new blood at the top of one of the last communist states in the world. He is viewed as a hardline communist ideologue.

The two aging communists will preside over the implementation of wide-ranging reforms to the island's struggling Soviet-style economy approved on Monday at the party's first congress in 14 years.

Castro, 79, and Machado Ventura, 80, fought in Cuba's 1959 revolution and head the aging revolutionaries who have run the government for more than half a century since they helped topple U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista.

Change will come to Cuba when the Castros either die or are overthrown, and not before.

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