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Cuba names econ chief a VP on ministers’ council

HAVANA (AP) – Cuba named its economy chief as a vice president on the Council of Ministers on Monday, making him one of the highest-ranking people in government.

Adel Yzquierdo, who has been atop the Economy Ministry since last March, was promoted at the suggestion of Raul Castro and with the approval of the Council of State, according to an official note published in Communist Party newspaper Granma.

He joins seven other vice presidents on the council under President Castro.

At 66, Yzquierdo is relatively young compared to leaders of Raul and Fidel Castro’s revolutionary generation, who occupy many top positions in government.

Raul Castro is 80, and his top two lieutenants are 81 and 79, respectively.

Yzquierdo, who was born in 1945, began his long military career as a foot soldier in the Revolutionary Armed Forces and studied mechanical engineering in the former Soviet Union.

Over the decades he rose steadily through the ranks and came to lead a number of military-run businesses under then-Defense Minister Raul Castro, according to his biography on the website of Cuba’s Communist Party.

In March 2011 he was named economy minister to replace Marino Murillo, who was promoted to the Council of Ministers and tasked with implementing economic reforms that Castro is hoping will lift the country’s long-struggling economy.

Yzquierdo will continue in his capacity as economy minister.

He is also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party.

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