Cuba Communists to consider term limits on leaders

HAVANA,  (Reuters) – Cuba will consider term and age  limits for its top officials at an upcoming Communist Party  conference as it seeks fresh leadership of the government led  by the Castro brothers for more than five decades.

The proposal, announced earlier this year by President Raul  Castro, would restrict Cuban leaders to two five-year terms and  define age limits in a “gradual renewal” of top posts,  according to the “base document” for the Jan. 28 conference,  released on Friday.

Castro said at a party congress in April the conference  would address the issue of Cuba’s elderly leadership, which  includes him at age 80 and first vice president Juan Ramon  Machado Ventura, 81.His brother, Fidel Castro, 85, led Cuba for 49 years before  Raul Castro replaced him in 2008 and still plays a behind the  scenes role in government.

“It’s really embarrassing that we have not solved this  problem in more than half a century,” President Castro said in  unveiling the term limits proposal.

He also promised to seek more women and blacks for  leadership positions, which was one of 97 points listed for  consideration in the conference document.

Others included such things as exhortations to stay focused  on economic reforms that are now underway and to cultivate  “love of work” as one of the country’s fundamental values.

Without specifically mentioning the United States, Cuba’s  longtime ideological enemy, it accused “the imperialists” of  “trying to foment division, apathy, discouragement,  rootlessness and lack of confidence in the leadership of the  revolution and the party.”The points will be discussed at party gatherings in coming  months and considered for ratification at the congress.

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