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Cuba's Communist Party replaces its head of ideology
Miami Herald ^ | June 25, 2003 | Anita Snow, AP

Posted on 06/25/2003 12:33:23 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

HAVANA - Esteban Lazo, the head of Cuba's powerful Communist Party in the nation's capital, has replaced one of the party's founders in a key national post overseeing ideology, the daily newspaper Granma reported Tuesday.

Lazo, 59, replaces José Ramón Balaguer, 71, a fellow member of the party's governing politburo, as head of the ideological department dedicated to preserving and promoting support for the government's communist principles.

Granma, the voice of the Communist Party of Cuba, said the changes were made during a meeting overseen by Fidel Castro, who heads the party as first secretary.

Both men are seen as orthodox party leaders intensely loyal to Castro. A former Cuban ambassador to the Soviet Union, Balaguer in particular has long wielded much influence inside the party, which is technically separate from the government but populated by the same players.

Balaguer and Lazo also serve inside Cuba's government on the nation's supreme governing body, the Council of State that Castro heads as president. Lazo is also a first vice president on that council.

As the party's first secretary for Havana for nearly a decade, Lazo has been heavily involved in the government's ''battle of ideas,'' an ongoing ideological campaign launched during the international custody battle over the boy Elián González, who returned to his family in Cuba in June 2000.

The ongoing ideological campaign seeks to engage Cubans, particularly younger ones, in national politics and generate support for Castro and his policies.

It was not immediately clear what the move meant, but it follows by days the replacements last week of two Cabinet members -- the ministers of finance and transportation -- with younger people.

Balaguer, who served in the rebel army that fought during the revolution that brought Castro to power in January 1959, represents a slightly older generation of leaders, known as ''históricos'' for their role in Cuba's revolutionary history.

Lazo, although just 12 years younger, joined the party as a young man just four years after Castro formed his revolutionary government. One of the most visible black leaders in Cuba's power structure, Lazo has spent most of his adult years as a labor leader and as a regional party leader.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Cuba; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: communism; communistparty; cuba; estebanlazo; fidelcastro; turass
Castro's execution of 3 raises specter of racism*** The execution of three blacks by a Cuban government firing squad in April for attempting to hijack a boat to Miami is raising questions about racism on the communist island. It was the first time anyone, black or white, had been executed for trying to flee Cuba.

Cuban President Fidel Castro justified the executions of Jorge Luis Martinez Isaac, Lorenzo Enrique Copello Castillo and Barbaro Leodan Sevilla Garcia as a deterrent to another mass exodus. But some Cuba watchers, on and off the island, doubt that the three would have been put to death had they been white. ***


Esteban Lazo, right, stands next to President Fidel Castro during a rally in Havana, Cuba on April 6, 2003 in Havana, Cuba. Lazo, the head of Cuba's powerful Communist Party in the nation's capital, has replaced one of the party's founders in a key national post overseeing ideology, the daily newspaper Granma reported Tuesday, June 24, 2003. (AP Photo/Cristobal Herrera)


Cuban President Fidel Castro listens during a political rally in a working class suburb in Havana, June 7, 2003. Thousands of people gathered while Castro expressed his annoyance with the European Union for its decision to cut back diplomatic and political ties due to a recent crackdown on the island's dissidents. REUTERS/Claudia Daut

Fidel Castro - Cuba

1 posted on 06/25/2003 12:33:24 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Why did'nt they just hire someone out of CNN's Havanna office?
2 posted on 06/25/2003 1:31:26 AM PDT by KC_Conspirator (Let me tell you something, Johnson!)
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To: KC_Conspirator
No kidding. Maybe a little too overt.
3 posted on 06/25/2003 1:37:07 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: KC_Conspirator
Better still, why doesn´t he hire Havana Jim/Cuba Carter. In his spare time, he can nail some houses together which are so badly needed.
4 posted on 06/25/2003 5:45:28 AM PDT by Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Bump for later.
5 posted on 06/25/2003 6:03:18 AM PDT by oyez (Is this a great country or what?)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
What this world needs is a good $5 exploding cigar.
6 posted on 06/25/2003 10:30:18 AM PDT by headsonpikes
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To: Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
Good Idea. Cuba hasn't built anything since 1959.
7 posted on 06/25/2003 11:51:34 AM PDT by oyez (Is this a great country or what?)
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