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A new 'Economic Reform Czar' in Cuba?

These are some of the challenges that the newly appointed Alejandro Gil Fernández will face.


Alejandro Gil Fernández, the new Cuban minister of Economy and Planning, was one on the surprises in the new ministerial cabinet announced last Saturday.

Fernández had been the vice-minister of that department, in the shadow of Ricardo Cabrisas, 81, who was promoted to one of the vice-presidencies of the new Council of Ministers, approved by the National Assembly of Popular Power.

According to observers, his task will be to try to solve the general crisis affecting the economy, racked by the recent sugar harvest, yielding a historical low; the decrease in export revenues, external debt, and various natural disasters.

The new incumbent must also make more thorough adjustments to the Cuban economy, endemically affected by low productivity and growth rates verging on negative figures, as well as monetary unification.

The sector also faces the need to effectively assimilate the growing private sector - which accounts for some half a million workers - beleaguered by newly approved regulations that come into force in December of this year.

Fernández was at the forefront of the reforms that introduced greater corporate independence under the socialist economy, and market-based regulatory mechanisms at state-owned companies, as part of the "model modernization" process.

In an interview on this issue given to the regime's newspaper Trabajadores In 2015, as Deputy Minister of Finance and Prices, he referred to the need to grant corporate management "and other entities great authorities, so that they can determine the prices of their productions and services."

In addition, the new minister provided guidance to officials and accountants with regards to monetary unification in internally disseminated videos circulated last year.

According to his Facebook profile, Alejandro Gil Fernández was born on February 6, 1964. He studied Public Finance at the University of Havana, as well as pursuing studies at the José Antonio Echeverría Technological University and the IPUEC in the People's Republic of Angola.

Before taking up his position in the Ministry of Finance and Prices, he headed the Grupo Caudal S.A. He is from Havana, has been married since 1989, and lives in the El Vedado district of the capital.

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