Torres Iribar, First Secretary of the Communist Party in Havana, Is Dismissed

Iríbar was in charge of Havana for more than five years / Communist Party of Cuba/Facebook

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 6 April  2024 — In a new movement of its provincial cadres, on Friday the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) “released” Luis Antonio Torres Iríbar from his position as first secretary of the provincial committee of that political organization in Havana. A brief note announced that the official will take on “new tasks.”

Iríbar – at the head of Havana since 2018 – is the fifth of the senior officials dismissed within the organization so far this year. His position will now be occupied by Liván Izquierdo Alonso, who was dismissed as first secretary in the province of Ciego de Ávila on March 16.

The departure of Torres Iríbar was decided in a plenary session attended by Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, who is also the first secretary of the PCC. The brief note adds that Roberto Morales Ojeda, member of the political bureau and organizational secretary of the Central Committee, was also present at the meeting.

In addition, an Official Gazette published this Friday announces that the governors and vice-governors of the Cuban provinces of Santiago de Cuba, Villa Clara and Matanzas will be elected on May 4. The election of the three local leaders will be carried out, at the proposal of Miguel Díaz-Canel, through the vote of the delegates of the local assemblies, as stipulated in the Constitution, the document adds.

The regional positions remained empty since the former governor of Santiago de Cuba, Beatriz Johnson, was appointed in February by the PCC as first secretary in the region and Mario Felipe Sabines became the first secretary of Matanzas. Alberto López Díaz also left his position as governor of Villa Clara in March to take on the Ministry of Food Industry.

Torres Iríbar had very difficult moments during his time at the head of the PCC in Havana. In these years he had to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, the Island-wide popular protests of 11 July 2021, and the deep economic crisis that has hit hard on the capital’s infrastructure and supplies.

Lacking charisma and very unpopular among Havana residents, who considered him a figure who was unaware of the complexities of a city with more than two million inhabitants, his most recent appearances were reduced to meetings, official events and specific visits, previously arranged, to neighborhoods of the capital.

With his departure, the question arises as to whether his replacement, Izquierdo Alonso, will be able to deal with the multiple problems in public transport, garbage collection, inflation, the exodus of professionals, the increase in crime and the ever increasing incidence of drug consumption in Havana neighborhoods.

The change in the leadership of the PCC in Havana has been confirmed almost a week after the dismissal of the first secretary in Matanzas, Susely Morfa González. The psychologist stood out in the acts of repudiation against Cuban activists at the Summit of the Americas, in 2015 in Panama.

With his departure, the question arises as to whether his replacement, Izquierdo Alonso, will be able to cope with the capital’s multiple problems

During the dismissal ceremony, Morfa was described as a “great leader” when she received a barrage of praise from representatives of official Matanzas organizations. Before her, the secretaries of Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuegos, Pinar del Río and Ciego de Ávila were also dismissed (the case of Izquierdo Alonso).

In recent months there has been an unusual number of changes in political figures in Cuba both within the Party and in different government ministries.

Thus, at the beginning of February three ministers were relieved, of which one of them – the former Minister of Economy and former Deputy Prime Minister Alejandro Gil – is being investigated for an alleged crime of corruption, as announced a month later.

Gil was one of the key men of the regime. When he was appointed Minister of Economy and Planning by Díaz-Canel, in 2018, he was unknown. The following year he already assumed the position of deputy prime minister.


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