Manuel Marrero Cruz Becomes Cuba’s First Prime Minister Since 1976
Manuel Marrero Cruz has been appointed by Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel as the country’s first prime minister in more than 40 years.
The post of prime minister was scrapped in 1976 by the then revolutionary leader Fidel Castro.
It was reinstated under the rules of a new constitution for the communist-run island passed earlier this year.
Manuel Marrero Cruz, 56, a former tourism minister, will take on some of the responsibilities that currently fall to the president.
“The head of government will be the administrative right hand of the president of the republic,” state-run online news outlet Cubadebate said.
However, critics say any such changes are purely cosmetic as the Cuban Communist Party and the military remain the only two real decision-making institutions on the country.
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Manuel Marrero Cruz’s appointment was ratified unanimously by deputies in the National Assembly on December 21.
The state newspaper Granma described Manuel Marrero Cruz as a politician who had emerged “from the base” of the tourism industry, one of Cuba’s main sources of foreign exchange.
In 2000, Manuel Marrero Cruz was made president of the military-run Gaviota tourism group, whose hotels are subject to US sanctions under the Trump administration.
He was named tourism minister in 2004 by Fidel Castro and has since overseen a major boost in tourism to the island.
It is unclear if he Manuel Marrero Cruz will now remain head of the tourism ministry.