Informacion economica sobre Cuba

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

basic industry.

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

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