Cuba Replaces Chief of Farming Co-Ops
HAVANA – Orlando Lugo Fonte, the long-time president of Cuba's National
Association of Small Farmers, was relieved of the post he had occupied
since 1987, official media said on Monday.
The decision was made during the plenary meeting of the National
Committee of the association, known as ANAP, which was held on Sunday
and presided over by Cuban Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura,
according to an article published in Communist Party daily Granma.
"The plenary session considered and particularly acknowledged the
exemplary and dedicated work by Lugo Fonte during the years he directed
the organization," the article said.
Lugo Fonte, a member of the guerrilla army that brought Fidel Castro to
power in 1959, helped found the Cuban Communist Party and has had seat
on the Central Committee since 1980 and a place in the Cabinet for the
last 26 years.
He is succeeded by ANAP No. 2 Felix Gonzalez Viego, 50, as head of the
organization, which has 331,874 members.
The replacement comes after last week's replacement of Liudmila Alamo as
head of the Young Communists Union.
Since Gen. Raul Castro formally assumed the presidency in February 2008,
he has made numerous changes in his Cabinet, the most recent ones
involving the ministers of computer science and communications and of
ANAP was created on May 17, 1961.
Its basic structure consists of 1,089 farming and ranching cooperatives.
It is also comprised of 3,242 credit and service cooperatives, which
maintain individual ownership of land and other means of production.
The reform plan pushed by Raul Castro to "update" the socialist model
includes the restructuring of the agricultural sector to increase food
production, a matter considered to be a national security issue because
the country spends more than $1.5 billion a year to import 80 percent of
the food it consumes.
The handing over of land to individuals and co-ops is one of the main
elements in revitalizing Cuban agriculture undertaken by Gen. Castro,
who succeeded ailing older brother Fidel. EFE