Feature: Cuba’s Communist Party to hold Congress amid COVID-19 pandemic

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by Yosley Carrero

HAVANA, April 11 (Xinhua) — With less than one week away, the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) has started the countdown to its eighth Congress scheduled for April 16-19.

The meeting will take place as the island nation marks the 60th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs invasion, where Cuban revolutionary forces defeated U.S.-backed mercenaries aiming to overthrow the socialist revolution.

As national flags wave from public institutions and balconies, Havana’s main avenues are flanked by the phrase “The Party is the soul of the Revolution” on red-colored billboards.

“This patriotic message reminds us that the Communist Party is fundamental for the defense of our political system,” said Marcelo Ramirez, a private sector employee living in central Havana, after reading the patriotic slogan on a billboard near the city’s entertainment district.

Fabio Fernandez, a senior professor with the School of Philosophy and History at the University of Havana, told Xinhua that the Eighth Congress of the PCC would be crucial to speeding up social and economic reforms started on the island a decade ago.

“The Communist Party of Cuba is called on to promote discussion on topics of current national interest,” he said, adding that the political organization must ensure the fulfillment of the new Cuban Constitution approved in 2019.

It comes in the middle of the island nation’s efforts to contain its sharpest rise in COVID-19 infections since the first COVID-19 cases were reported in Cuba on March 11, 2020.

On top of that, the Cuban people went through a harsh economic period, partly due to the tightening of the U.S. embargo against the Caribbean nation.

Gathered at Havana’s Conventions Center, delegates will discuss ideology, history, cultural institutions’ work, battle against corruption, aside from other topics concerning the internal functioning of political organizations, according to local media.

In addition, economic transformations implemented over the past five years, foreign investment, the new legal framework for non-state businesses, and the ongoing monetary reform will be on the agenda.

Oscar Fernandez, a senior professor with the School of Economics at the University of Havana, said that the Eighth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba will have to make strategic decisions within a very serious economic context.

“I expect the Congress can contribute to consolidating the path of the economic reform. It is also important that indicators to measure the success of the economic and social changes be defined more clearly,” he added. Enditem

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