Cuban President Raul Castro has been elected first secretary of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) at the Sixth National Congress which closed on April 19.

The Sixth PCC Central Committee, with 115 members approved on the night of April 18, also named Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, the first Vice President of the Council of State and Council of Ministers, as the new second secretary.

Raul Castro said 15 people, including him and Machado Ventura, had been named to the Political Bureau.

Raul Castro succeeded his elder brother, Fidel Castro, who also attended the closing session of the Congress on April 19.

The sixth PCC National Congress adopted the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines of the Party and Revolution and the Political Report of the sixth Party Congress along with other resolutions.

Addressing the closing session, the PCC’s new first secretary laid stress that the successful implementation of the “Economic and Social Policy Guidelines” will guarantee the inheritance of the revolutionary cause and the building of socialism in Cuba.

Raul Castro vowed to guide Cuba to carry out the upgrade of the national economic model successfully and firmly defend socialism.

The “Economic and Social Policy Guidelines”, approved after further exchange and a mass consultation with the population in nearly five months, provides Cuba with a roadmap to modernise its economic model with a series of major changes due to be implemented.

Those changes had been widely expected because some have already begun, including the slashing of government jobs, allowing more self-employment, and leasing state land to private farmers.

The changes will seek to cut subsidies and redundant state jobs, give more autonomy to state enterprises, expand private economic models, implement new tax collection policy, and decentralise state management as part of a general overhaul of the economy.

Apart from economic issues, the Sixth PCC National Congress dealt with breakthroughs expected to be made in the sphere of politics, as presented in the Political Report of the Congress delivered by Raul Castro.

The Political Report called for reforms in the stream of thoughts and leading methods of the Party as well correction of all mistakes for the efficiency of the economy and the building of socialism.

Raul Castro, in his closing speech, underlined that if the stream of thoughts is not renewed, it will pose the biggest hurdle to the upgrade of economic model in Cuba.

He, particularly, asked the press to bring into full play its communication advantages to help figure out and criticise flaws and problems in economic and social management.

At the end of the Sixth PCC National Congress, the participants agreed that the next National Conference of the PCC will be held in late January, 2012./.