Cuba Communists Asked To Pull Back
Nov. 22, 1999
HAVANA (AP) _ Communist leaders in Cuba are urging party activists to stop meddling in government and state-run company affairs, asking them instead to focus on spreading enthusiasm for socialism.
Local newspapers on Monday carried lengthy descriptions of Vice President Raul Castro's call for the party to leave administration duties to bureaucrats, a message he has carried to provincial party assemblies across the island in recent weeks.
The call seems aimed at cutting out a layer of duplicate bureaucracy in many local governments and state enterprises. For years, party officials have been deeply involved in administrative decisions, often wielding veto power.
The message also comes as government is undergoing a nationwide efficiency campaign, now in its second year, aimed at making state-run enterprises _ which range from farms to hotels _ more productive and less dependent on government subsidies.
Still, the Communist Party will continue to monitor all activities, said Raul Castro, head of Cuba's armed forces, No. 2 figure in the country's sole party and brother of President Fidel Castro.
``Nothing is outside the party's scope,'' he was quoted as saying by the government's Prensa Latina news agency.
The importance of Castro's message was underscored by the fact that Trabajadores, the national labor union newspaper, and the Havana weekly Tribuna both dedicated several full pages to descriptions of the party's Havana provincial congress over the weekend with detailed descriptions _ but few direct quotes _ of statements by Raul Castro and provincial party leader Esteban Lazo.
So far, the efficiency campaign has moved slowly. The country's chief economic planner, Carlos Lage, said that of Cuba's 3,000 state companies, but only five have finished the planning stages and actually started to restructure themselves.