Cuban culture minister removed after 2 years in job

The Cuban Council of State, “at the proposal of its president, agreed — for reason of renewal — to release from the post of minister of Culture comrade Rafael Bernal Alemany and in his place promote comrade Julián González Toledo, the current vice minister of that organism,” the daily Granma announced Thursday (March 6).

Julián González Toledo
Julián González Toledo

The newspaper describes González as “52, a university graduate who has assumed various responsibilities, from the base to the Ministry. He has accumulated more than 20 years of experience in the sector and studied satisfactorily for a Diploma in Public Administration at the Superior School of Cadres of State and Government.”

González will be replaced by María Elena Salgado Cabrera as first vice minister of Culture. She has 24 years of work experience and has borne important responsibility in the Ministry of Culture, Granma says.

The departing Bernal “will be assigned other tasks,” the newspaper says.

Bernal, who will be 70 in September, was appointed minister of Culture two years ago. A former military officer in Matanzas province, he became deputy minister of Education in 1973 and was promoted to first deputy minister in 1991.

He went on to the Ministry of Culture in 1997, as first deputy minister, and was promoted to minister in March 2012, replacing Abel Prieto, who became a special advisor to President Raúl Castro after a 15-year career as minister of Culture. Prieto was 61 when he left the ministry.

The reason given for Bernal’s removal after only two years in the post — “renewal” — suggests that Raúl Castro, president of the Council of State, wanted a younger man as minister, but some newspapers in Spain are speculating that the recent discovery of multiple thefts from the National Museum of Fine Arts reduced Castro’s confidence in Bernal as an administrator. For background, click here.

[Photo at top is of Rafael Bernal Alemany.]