Marino Murillo was back at the presidential table in a session of the Cuban Parliament this Thursday.
HAVANA TIMES – The so-called tsar of economic reforms in Cuba, Marino Murillo, reappeared on Thursday on the political stage during an special session of the National Assembly, along with president Raul Castro.
Murillo’s absence from the official media for almost a year was the subject of speculation in the international news media and among ordinary Cubans. He is a political figure who is one of the vice-presidents of the Council of Ministers, a member of the Council of State and head of the Standing Committee on Implementation and Development of the economic reforms.
To viewers surprise on Thursday, the National Television afternoon broadcast transmitted long fragments of the interventions by Murillo before the Commissions of Economic,
Constitutional and Legal, and Services commissions, at the Havana Convention Center.
The Cuban Parliament met for the purpose of discussing three documents considered programmatic for the future of the country, already approved by the Central Committee of the Communist Party. These were the Conceptualization of the Cuban Social Economic Development and Social Model, Policy Guidelines for the Party and the Revolution for the period 2016-2021, and the Bases of the Economic and Social Development Plan through 2030: Vision of the Nation, the Priority and Strategic Sectors.
According to the Granma newspaper, Murillo “offered details on the changes undergone in the documents during the discussion process.”
Murillo reviewed the modifications made to the documents by the deputies and the members of the Central Committee of the Party in meetings held in April, as well as those proposals that were not approved.
Concerned about property and wealth
In the debate, according to the newspaper, several deputies agreed to unite the wording of the section related to the Conceptualization of the economic and social model of socialist development, with that of the Guidelines in terms of “concentration of property and wealth”, taking into account the presently one recognizes it and the other forbids it.
“We are recognizing a multi-sectorial model in the economy, and the possibility of [private employers] hiring a labor force, which necessarily leads to economic surplus,” Murillo said.
The official acknowledged that this is one of the issues most debated in the consultations and one of the major risks thay are currently running. “We have to continue adjusting the rules governing the self-employed, because there is a negative phenomenon that is already occurring, and no document can define how to face it,” said Murillo.
Regulation of the State
“Where there is private property there is a certain level of concentration of wealth. We need to know what we mean by concentration of wealth. Then we have to evaluate the tax regime that we have, to form an adequate tax policy that allows us to adequately redistribute income, “he said.
The report on the topic of private economic management indicated that the session “showed the importance of state regulation to curb the concentration of wealth, in a country that cannot renounce the development of non-state forms of the economy”.
Finally it was Murillo who put the documents to a vote. They were approved unanimously [as virtually all votes in Cuba’s National Assembly].
Murillo had not make a public intervention or at political events since early July 2016, when Parliament held a plenary session on the country’s economic situation. A few days later, on July 14, he was replaced as Minister of Economy and Planning by Ricardo Cabrisas, who, like Murillo, also holds the position of Vice-President of the Council of Ministers.
Murillo’s absence was evident at subsequent meetings of the Council of Ministers, such as last April, which announced a readjustment of state budget expenditures to levels lower than last year.