Ricardo Alarcon, Cuba’s National Assembly President, will be leaving that post because his name did not appear on the list of legislative candidates, AP reports. Alarcon is a former foreign minister and UN Ambassador and has been Havana’s senior point man for relations with Washington, with broad U.S. contacts. The detention of one of his top aides last year on apparent corruption charges has led to conjecture that Alarcon is being pushed out because of some connection to the case. Absent evidence to back that up, it appears to be a retirement – he is 75 years old, has held his current job for 19 years, his career extends all the way back to the 1959 revolution, and this is a time when there is an effort to put younger officials into high-level posts. Besides, when an official is removed for cause, the Cuban government’s practice is to say so.
Other leadership news, also from AP: Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, 54, has been promoted to the Communist Party’s political bureau, the small, inner-circle body at top of the party’s organizational structure.