Cuba Current Affairs - 2020

Manuel Marrero Cruz appointed as Cuba’s first PM in more than 40 years

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel has appointed Manuel Marrero Cruz as the country’s first prime minister in more than four decades (40 years). Marrero Cruz who was named prime minister for a five-year term, has served as Cuban tourism minister for 16 years. He is an architect by trade and has helped boost Cuba’s economy by making tourism one of the engines of growth.

Key Highlights

History: The post of prime minister was scrapped in 1976 by the then-revolutionary leader and Cuba’s last prime minister Fidel Castro. In December 1976, Fidel Castro took the title of president of the State Council, which replaced the posts of president and prime minister. This makes Marrero Cruz first appointed Prime Minister of Cuba since 1976.

New Constitution: In February 2019, Cuban voters approved a new constitution to replace 1976 Soviet-era charter enacted under Fidel Castro. The Prime Minister’s post was reinstated under the rules of this newly passed constitution for communist-run island. However, under the new constitution, the Communist Party still remains the only political party allowed in Cuba, as well as it remains the guiding force for all government policy.

Apart from Prime Minister, Deputy prime minister and other members of the Council of Ministers were also appointed. Diaz-Canel remains head of state and Raul Castro remains the first secretary of Communists and the real power remains in the hand of the two. The prime minister will manage day-to-day operations but will still report to president.

However, Critics highlights that any such changes are purely cosmetic as the Cuban Communist Party and military remain the only two real decision-making institutions in country.

SpiceJet joins IATA

Indian low-cost airlines SpiceJet has joined the International Air Transport Association (IATA). SpiceJet is the first Indian budget carrier to join the IATA, which has over 290 airlines as members.

The membership of IATA will allow SpiceJet to explore and grow its collaborations with international member airlines of IATA through interlining and code shares and also enables to seamlessly expand the network options for its passengers in future.

International Air Transport Association (IATA)

International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the trade association for the world’s airlines and represents some 290 airlines which contribute to about 82% of total air traffic.

Functions of IATA
  • IATA helps airlines to operate safely, securely, efficiently, and economically under clearly defined rules.
  • IATA provides professional support is provided to all industry stakeholders with a wide range of products and expert services.
  • IATA aims to assist airlines by simplifying processes and increasing passenger convenience while reducing costs and improving efficiency.
  • IATA also aims to improve understanding of the air transport industry among decision makers and increase awareness of the benefits that aviation brings to national and global economies.
  • IATA advocates for the interests of airlines across the globe and challenges unreasonable rules and charges and strive for sensible regulation.

IATA headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada supports airline activity and helps formulate industry policy and standards. IATA which is the successor to the International Air Traffic Association, which was formed in 1919 at The Hague was formed in April 1945 in Havana, Cuba.