EFE/14ymedio, Havana, 14 July 2016 – Cuba’s Council of State, at the request of president Raul Castro, has named Ricardo Cabrisas minister of the economy, replacing Marino Murillo, who remains a vice president and will chair a commission in charge of reforms to update the country’s economic model.
The change was announced Wednesday in an official note published in the official media, where it was also reported that the Minister of Higher Education, Rodolfo Alarcon, has been replaced by the department’s vice minister, Jose Saborido.
In the case of the Minister of Economy and Planning, the change reflects the need for Marino Murillo – considered Cuba’s “czar of reforms – to concentrate his efforts in the related tasks of updating the Cuban economic and social model,” according to the official note.
Cabrisas, his replacement in the Ministry of Economy and also a vice president, “has vast experience and training demonstrated in the exercise of responsibilities” in the Executive “and in undertaking important missions, including the recent process of successfully managing the restructuring of Cuba’s external debt,” the statement added.
The State Council recognized “the work done by compañero Murillo in fulfilling the duties of the office of minister” of Economy.
These changes occurred after Raul Castro’s recognition on July 8 before the National Assembly that the Cuban economy is experiencing “stress” and “adverse circumstances” caused, among other factors, by the crisis in Venezuela. The island’s main ally, Venezuela has reduced oil shipments to the island.
After rejecting speculation about the “imminent economic collapse” of the island, President Raul Castro announced at the session a plan of measures to confront the situation, which requires savings, reductions in expenses and energy use restrictions.
In the Ministry of Higher Education the new head will be Jose Saborido, who has been deputy minister for four years.
Saborido holds a PhD in Economics and until moving to the ministry held positions in education as an instructor, professor, dean, vice chancellor and provost.
In this case, the Council of State did not specify in its official note the reasons for replacing outgoing minister Rodolfo Alarcon, but recognized his “meritorious career. ” Alarcon had served in the position since 2012 and previously had served for two decades as vice minister.