Manuel Marrero Cruz: Cuba’s New Prime Minister
The 21st of December 2019 marks a new chapter in Cuban history as the 17th Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz was sworn in by President Miguel Diaz-Canel. It is fascinating to note that the post of the Prime Minister had been vacant since the 2nd of December 1976. Manuel Marrero Cruz became the first individual to be named Cuba’s Prime Minister in 43 long years.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who became the President of the Council of State on the 19th of April 2018, was selected to succeed President Raul Castro. Miguel Diaz-Canel became the first President, who did not descend from the Castro family tree, since Osvaldo Dorticos way back in 1976. He also became the first leader of the government since Jose Miro Cardona in 1959, who is not a Castro family member.
Miguel Diaz-Canel’s rise in the political arena represents Cuba’s progressive approach for a non-dynastic form of succession for the Republic of Cuba and the Communist Party. In the year 2021, Miguel is likely to succeed the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Raul Castro to become the most powerful man in Cuba.
Miguel Diaz-Canel has been able to reorganize the government with a new referendum, which was adopted on the 24th of February 2019. The new referendum restored the posts of the President and the Prime Minister. On the 21st of December 2019, Miguel Diaz-Canel named Manuel Marrero Cruz as the new Prime Minister of Cuba for a 5-year term to write a new chapter in Cuban history.
Cuba became an independent nation in the year 1940. From the 2nd of December 1976 till the 20th of December 2019, the post of Prime Minister had remained vacant. Manuel Marrero Cruz became the 17th Prime Minister of Cuba to hold the pristine office on the 21st of December 2019. He served for 16 longs years as the Cuban Tourism Minister. Before he held the Tourism ministry, Manuel Marrero Cruz served as a Colonel in Cuban Armed forces.
Interestingly, Fidel Castro held the post of Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976. In the year 1976, Castro became the most powerful man – the President of the State Council – to replace the posts of President and Prime Minister in the Communist-run island nation.
Manuel Marrero Cruz’s appointment as the Prime Minister was confirmed by the 594 Deputies of the Cuban National Assembly in the Assembly’s Annual end-of-the-year meeting. It is mandatory to have absolute majority in Cuban Parliament. Deputy Prime Minister and other members of the Council of Ministers were also appointed on the 21st of December 2019.
Miguel Diaz-Canel and Raul Castro maintained their respective posts of Head of the State and Secretary of the Communist Party respectively. These two posts are the most powerful posts in Cuba, where real power lies. As the Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz will be managing day-to-day operations of the Cuban government and report them to President Miguel Diaz-Cruz.
Way back in February 2019, the much needed political change of a new Constitution was approved by the Cuban voters to replace the 1976 Soviet-era Charter imposed by Fidel Castro. President Miguel Diaz-Cruz’s intention to rule with transparency was hailed by one and all in the nation. The newly-approved Constitutional change protects private property and foreign investment.
For the first time since 1976, under the newly-approved Constitution, the office of the Presidency was placed for two 5-year terms. Interestingly, in Cuba under the new Constitution, the Communist Party remains the sole political party to remain as the guiding force for all the government policies. In Cuba, there is only one political party and that is the Communist Party to serve the citizen and the nation at large for better or worse.
The revolutionary leader Fidel Castro has remained a revered figure in Cuban politics and the world all over to care for his country and the citizen. Born to a wealthy Spanish farmer, Fidel Castro studied Law at the University of Havana. During his University days, Fidel Castro adopted the leftist anti-imperialist political views to rebel against the government policies of President Fulgencio Batista. Castro took active part as one of the rebellions against the right-wing governments in the Dominican Republic and Colombia. In the year 1953, along with like-minded individuals, Castro planned to overthrow Cuban President Batista. They failed during the Moncada Barracks attack. He was sentenced with others for a year in prison.
When Fidel Castro and others were released, he travelled to Mexico to form a revolutionary group along with his brother Raul Castro and Che Guevara to become renowned worldwide. The group was named the ‘26th of July Movement’. He returned to Cuba and led the movement in a guerilla war from the Sierra Maestra against President Batista’s armed forces. The Castro brothers and Che Guevara succeeded to overthrow President Batista in the year 1959.
Fidel Castro undertook military and political power as the Cuban Prime Minister in the year 1959. In the year 1961, Castro became the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba. He served Cuba as the Prime Minister till 1976 and thereafter as the President till 2008. He remained the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba to control power till 2011. On the 31st of July 2016, he delegated his Presidential duties to his brother Raul Castro.
Fidel Castro remains an enigma and a phenomenal personality in the political world even after his death on the 25th of November 2016. He stood firm against all the aggression of the mighty rulers of America, as long as he lived for the sake of his motherland. Castro made Cuba a one-party Communist State. Industries and business were nationalized. State Socialist policies were implemented to benefit all Cubans.
Manuel Marrero Cruz has been a key figure in developing the tourism industry at large in his 15-year long stint as the Tourism Minister. In the year 2000, Marrero was made the President of the military-run Gaviota Tourism Group, who runs hotels in Cuba. In the year 2004, Fidel Castro appointed Manuel Marrero Cruz as Tourism Minister. He successfully boosted the tourism industry under his leadership.
President Miguel Diaz-Canel showered high praises for Manuel Marrero Cruz’s honesty, loyalty to the Communist Party and the revolution along with his ability to work efficiently in handling great relationships with foreign investors. Marrero had led Cuba towards growth under his leadership as the Tourism Minister with dozens of successful partnerships with foreign companies. He also holds a strong grip with broad connections in the growing private sector.
JOURNEY OF SUCCESS
Manuel Marrero Cruz was born in the eastern Province of Holguin, Cuba on the 11th of July 1963. He worked as a trained architect-engineer before joining the tourism world in the year 1990. Initially, he started as an investor in the Gaviota Group, who runs hotels in Cuba. He gradually climbed the ladder of success with his experience and efficiency as an intelligent individual. From being an investor, Manuel Marrero Cruz became the Head of Technical Investment Group.
Manuel Marrero Cruz’s capabilities saw him being promoted as the Deputy Director first. His business acumen saw him becoming the General Manager of the Rio de Luna Hotel. He went onto become a sub-delegate for the Eastern Provinces at Gaviota Group. He later became the General Manager of the Varadero Azul Hotel Complex. He was promoted as first Vice President and finally to ascend as the President of Gaviota Group.
Manuel Marrero Cruz’s prominent rise in the business circle was not only noteworthy, but also caught the eye of none other than Fidel Castro. In the year 2004, he was appointed as the Minister of Tourism. The post he has held with great responsibility till he was appointed as the 17th Cuban Prime Minister to assist President Miguel Diaz-Canel.
On the 21st of December 2019, Manuel Marrero Cruz was appointed unanimously by the Cuban Parliament as Prime Minister. President Miguel Diaz-Canel stated, “Manuel Marrero has stood out for his modesty, honesty, ability to work and fidelity to the revolution. He has rich experience in negotiations with counterpart foreigners and skills for interlocution.” Manuel Marrero Cruz will serve as the Cuban Prime Minister for five years.
As the Prime Minister, Manuel Marrero Cruz will have to make significant economic reforms to overcome the current circumstances. The Cuban economy is looking ahead towards a more comprehensive mixed economy. It will be interesting to see how the newly-appointed Prime Minister would tackle Cuba’s dual monetary system in the New Year.
Economic reforms will be Marrero’s great challenge, because the Cuban government controls the market economy. Cuba has seen a change towards liberalization and capitalism is gradually popping its head to erode the pillars of the Communist system. It will be really interesting to see how the architect-engineer-turned investor and now Prime Minister will do a balancing act.