Raul Castro appoints new foreign investment minister

November 13th, 2008 - 6:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Havana, Nov 13 (DPA) Cuban President Raul Castro replaced his foreign investment minister after the agency reported a drop in the number of state firms receiving foreign investment.The announcement of the cabinet change was made Wednesday night on state-run television. It did not give a reason for removing Marta Lomas, 58, and replacing her with the country’s envoy to UN Rodrigo Malmierca, 52.

The Ministry of Foreign Investment and Economic Cooperation reported recently that the number of state companies with foreign capital this year was 314, a drop of 48 contracts from the end of 2007.

The cabinet change was the second Castro has made since he officially became president in February, taking over from his brother Fidel, who had led Cuba since 1959 after heading the Cuban Revolution. In April, Raul Castro had replaced his education minister.

Malmierca had already served as vice minister, director and in other positions in the foreign investment ministry, which oversees the joint ventures state enterprises have with foreign companies.

His appointment came as Cuba struggles to recover from three hurricanes that hit it this hurricane season and as its economy languishes under a 46-year US embargo and the removal of subsidies with the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

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