Cuba Politics

Cuban energy minister Marcos Portal to be replaced

Posted October 15, 2004 by publisher in Cuba Politics.

The Cuban government has sacked a senior minister held responsible for an energy crisis which left much of the country facing regular power blackouts.

Marcos Portal Leon was blamed for not preventing the crisis, which began when a key power plant broke down in May.

Millions of Cubans are still without electricity for several hours a day.

Mr Portal, who was appointed minister of basic industries in 1983, was also criticised by the ruling Communist party for being too “self-sufficient”.

The fall-out from the breakdown of the Antonio Guiteras power plant, in the Matanzas province east of the capital Havana, has prompted President Fidel Castro to discuss the problem on national television.

Veteran minister

An official statement issued by the Communist party praised Mr Portal’s service to Cuba throughout the 1990s, a tough economic period known as “the special period”.

But it also criticised his handling of the lucrative nickel industry, accusing him of making “grave errors”.

He was also admonished for becoming too independent in his work, often “underestimating the opinions of other experienced colleagues,” the statement said.

The BBC’s Stephen Gibbs in Havana says that Mr Portal, 59, is married to a niece of President Castro and had been seen as untouchable.

He is to be replaced by a young official in the Communist party.

The official statement described his successor, chemical engineer Yadira Garcia Vera, as “modest, capable and efficient”.

Member Comments

On October 16, 2004, Ralph wrote:

Portal is out,it is fair and resonable,but the continual
blackout what?