Cuba elects provincial governors for first time since 1959

Cuba elects provincial governors for first time since 1959

HAVANA, Jan. 19th   First batch of Cuban governors and deputy governors since 1959 were elected on Saturday in order to “economically and socially contribute” to national development, according to the Cuban constitution. “All the proposals by Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel were endorsed by municipal delegates across the country,” Alina Balseiro, head of the told reporters at a news conference.

Earlier on Friday, Diaz-Canel called for special attention to the creation of new government structures, as part of the effort to enhance people’s power.

The position of governor has been added to the new constitution approved in February, 2019, some six decades after it was removed from the governmental system of the island country following the victory of the Cuban Revolution.

“Governors are fundamental to strengthening local power as they are accountable for 15 provinces’ executive and managerial performances,” said Lissete Perez, senior professor with the School of Law at the University of Havana.

A new structure of People’s Power National Assembly at the local level will increase government control, supervision and citizen participation in the decision-making process, she said.

The Cuban constitution says provincial governments are “meant to economically and socially contribute to the territory’s development and facilitate coordination between state structures and municipalities.”

Teresa Lara, economic analyst at the Enterprise for Knowledge Management and Technology, said these changes would involve not only decentralization of government, but also that of economic activity.

She said that new authorities will have the opportunity to better bolster urban and rural development amid increasing U.S. blockade against the island under the current U.S. administration.

“It is a move on the right track for governors are called on to have more control over resources and state budget than presidents of former Provincial Assemblies of People’s Power,” she added.

Governors and deputy governors will serve for a five-year term after inauguration ceremonies to take place on Feb. 8 prior to constituting provincial councils.