Raul Outlines Changes

Cuban President Raul Castro presided over the Sixth Plenary Session of Cuba’s Communist Party Central Committee, on Monday. The primary focus of the meeting was the role of the Party, the country’s development and the international outlook.

Raul noted that while the Party had strengthened and gained experience during the special period, it must continue to improve.

"Our main goal is to improve our imperfect, but nevertheless fair, social system amid the present reality, which we know is extremely complex and changeable, and everything points to the future," he indicated.

The Cuban President said that the Party must continue strengthening its work and authority before the masses and affirmed that "today an important step has been taken in that direction and in strengthening its role as an organized vanguard of the Cuban nation placing the insitution in better conditions to face the challenges of the future" and as expressed by Fidel "to assure the continuity of the Revolution after the absence of its historic leaders".

He also informed of the Council of State decision to reduce the death penalty sentenced to a group of people to life sentences, except those who had committed the crime before that sanction was established in the Cuban penal code.

Those people, Raul Castro stressed, will be sentenced to 30 years of imprisonment.

He recalled the country had applied since 2000 the policy of not executing these kind of sentences, which was interrupted in April 2003 to stop the spate of over 30 attempts to hijack planes and ships, encouraged by United States.

Shortly before the meetings conclusion, it was announced that the Political Bureau had agreed to propose to the Central Committee that the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba be held some time near the end of 2009.

In-depth coverage: one and two

Watch video excerpts of the final address:
Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV