12 Jul 2013 11:19

HAVANA, July 4 (BERNAMA-NNN-XINHUA) -- Cuba unveiled major changes to the make-up of the ruling Cuban Communist Party (CCP)'s Central Committee, with 11 new faces in and five out, the Cuban News Agency (ACN) reported on Wednesday.

The changes, announced during a party plenary session, removed senior Communists including Ricardo Alarcon from the committee in what is considered as "a natural process," the ACN said.

Cuban leader Raul Castro said: "The first national party conference agreed that the members of party committees at all levels must present their resignation to their posts when they consider the reasons they were elected do not exist anymore, and this does not constitute a reproachable attitude," according to the ACN.

"This door leads in, this door leads out, without representing any demerit," Castro was quoted as saying, urging members to be more energetic in carrying out their responsibilities.

Alarcon, 76, who served as president of the parliament until February, had been on the committee for about two decades. Considered as a long-time political ally of former President Fidel Castro, Alarcon used to represent Cuba in dealing with the United States for many years.

Among the four others stepping down is Jose Miguel Miyar Barrueco, 81, who was secretary of the Council of State for three decades and stepped down as the Minister of Science, Technology and Environment in March 2012.

The new Central Committee members include the first secretaries of the provincial committees of Pinar del Rio, Artemisa, Mayabeque, Matanzas, Villa Clara, Ciego de Avila and Las Tunas.

Also among the new members are the first secretary of the Young Communists League, Yuniasky Crespo; the national coordinator of the Committees for the Defence of the Revolution, Carlos Miranda; the president of the National Association of Small Farmers, Felix Gonzalez; and the Cuban ambassador to Venezuela, Rogelio Polanco.

On several occasions Castro has indicated that it is necessary to gradually promote capable young figures into government leadership positions.