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Raúl Castro Ruz summons to the 6th sixth party congress in Cuba for the 2009
Acting on a proposal from the Political Bureau, the Plenary agreed to hold the 6th Party Congress at the end of 2009. It also elected three new members of the Political Bureau and created seven permanent commissions with the objective of expanding the influence of the party in society.

Presided over by the Second Secretary of the Cuban Communist Party, Raúl Castro Ruz, the 6th Plenary of the Central Committee convened Monday to assess issues related to the operation of the organization, as well as the development of the country and the complex international panorama. Shortly before concluding the meeting, Raúl Castro reported that the Political Bureau had determined it necessary to hold the sixth party congress sometime in the second half of 2009, though the exact date would be made known later.

Improving the work of the Party. Reinforcing institutionalization.

Raúl Castro expressed that it is necessary and decisive to have strong institutions. He insisted on the idea that when difficulties are greatest, more order and disciplines are required, which is why he sees it as vital to reinforce institutionalization.

He said the party should continue improving its work and authority before the masses and affirmed that today an important step has been taken in that direction and in the party securing its role as the organized vanguard of the Cuban nation. This, he asserted, would place it in a better condition to face the challenges of the future and, as comrade Fidel has said, to assure the continuity of the Revolution when its historical leaders have passed.

Raúl reported on his decision of designating José Ramón Fernández Álvarez, vice-president of the Council of Secretaries, to assist, control and coordinate the work of the ministries of Education and Superior Education, in addition to his current role overseeing the INDER sports ministry. In addition, he will be charged with overseeing education-related activities undertaken by other organizations of the Central Administration of the state, including teaching centers and military universities. After highlighting Fernández Álvarez outstanding qualities and achievements, Raúl said, "We want many people to emerge inspired by your example."

Raúl Castro remarked that food production constitutes a primary task for the leaders of the party because it is a matter of national security. He stressed that this demands particular attention of the first secretaries of municipalities and provinces in offering the maximum support and control, not through filling out forms and holding meetings but by supplying land, speaking directly with those in charge production, and putting into practice the measures that have begun to be applied in agricultural sector.
Commuting the death penalty

In his conclusion, partner Raúl reported on the decision adopted that very morning by the Council of State to commute the death penalty against a group that had been sentenced; they are to be given terms of life imprisonment instead. Excluded would be those individuals who had committed criminal acts before the establishment of this sanction in the Penal Code; these individuals would be subject to 30 years of prison.

In his report, Castro recalled that since 2000 a policy had been applied of not executing anyone for any sanction of this type. The sole exception interrupting that policy was in April 2003, to brake the wave of more than 30 attempts to hijack airplanes and ships, encouraged by the policies of the United States, which had recently initiated the war in Iraq.

Raúl emphasized that the decision adopted is a sovereign act, not one motivated by pressure. He said it is in consonance with the humanitarian behavior and ethics of the Revolution, encouraged by the spirit of justice and not vengeance. He also noted that party leader Fidel Castro supports "when favorable conditions exist" the elimination of the death penalty for any type of crime and opposes the extrajudicial methods that some well-known countries shamelessly practice.

He clarified that this agreement by the Council of State does not mean the elimination of capital punishment in the Cuban Penal Code, noting that under current circumstances the country dismantle itself before an empire that has not ceased to harass and attack the island.
Other changes

Raul Castro pointed out that the agreements adopted mark the end of the provisional stage initiated on July 31, 2006, running from the announcement made by Commander-in-chief Fidel Castro to the time of his message expressing his role as being only a soldier of ideas, in February 24 of this year. That period, said Raúl, has been one in which work has been shared collegially on the basis of the delegation of functions that Fidel Castro had previously carried out.

In correspondence with the abilities granted to it under the law, the 6th Plenary elected Major of the Revolution Ramiro Valdés Menéndez, trade union head Salvador Valdés Mesa and Army General Álvaro López Miera as members of the Political Bureau,

In addition, also in correspondence with established law, the Plenary agreed to create seven permanent subordinate commissions to the Political Bureau, operationally attended to by the Secretariat of the Central Committee and presided over in all the cases by one of their secretaries. The commissions will be: Ideology and culture, Economy, Agriculture, one for the study of import substitution and exports expansion; Education, science and sports; Health, and International Relations.

Their work content will analyze the most important matters within the areas concerned, and will also be able to make suggestions, recommendations and proposals that they are specifically requested by the leadership of the party.

Raúl concluded with words summarizing the will to advance and have trust in the future:

"We have worked a great deal over these last few months, and it will be necessary to do much more in the days ahead. I trust that each one will know how to do so from the responsibility or task which they have with the dedication, wisdom and faithfulness demanded by the time in which we live."


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