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Cuba's ruling Communist Party elected President Miguel Diaz-Canel to succeed Raul Castro as party first secretary, the most powerful position in the country, on the final day of its congress on Monday.
The succession marks the end of six decades of rule by brothers Fidel and Raul Castro, who led Cuba's leftist 1959 revolution, in a transition to a younger generation that worked its way up the party ranks rather than forging itself through guerilla warfare.
Diaz-Canel, 60, who already succeeded Castro as president in 2018, had been widely expected to be nominated first party secretary too. He has emphasized continuity since becoming president and is not expected to move Cuba away from a one-party socialist system.
"Diaz-Canel is not the fruit of improvisation but of the thoughtful selection of a young revolutionary who has all that is required to be promoted to higher positions," Castro said in a speech opening the congress on Friday, his military fatigues contrasting with his protege's civil garb.
Hundreds of party delegates gathered for the party's most important meeting, that takes place every five years to review policy and elect new leadership, in Havana.
Castro said at the last party congress in 2016 it would be the last presided over by the so-called historic generation of those who fought in the Sierra Maestra to overthrow the U.S.-backed government of dictator Fulgencio Batista.
The new policy setting Political Bureau will not include Jose Ramon Machado Ventura and Ramiro Valdes, two other famous proponents of that generation. The party has not yet announced who will replaced Machado Ventura, a communist ideologue, as deputy party leader.
Bill strips right to food stamps, unemployment and medical assistance if convicted of ‘crime’ during political protest
A possibly unconstitutional Minnesota bill would punish anyone convicted of a crime during a political protest by stripping them of their right to any state-funded assistance, including food stamps, student loans, medical assistance, unemployment, or rent or mortgage assistance, among other programs.
Republican state Senator David Osmek filed SF 2381, a one-page bill which reads in part: "relating to public safety; prohibiting any state loan, grant, or assistance for persons convicted of offense related to protest, demonstration, rally, civil unrest, or march." HF 466, a companion House bill, was filed by GOP Rep. Eric Lucero.
"A person convicted of a criminal offense related to the person's illegal conduct at a protest, demonstration, rally, civil unrest, or march is ineligible for any type of state loan, grant, or assistance, including but not limited to college student loans and grants, rent and mortgage assistance, supplemental nutrition assistance, unemployment benefits and other employment assistance, Minnesota supplemental aid programs, business grants, medical assistance, general assistance, and energy assistance."
The legislation could conflict with the First Amendment right to free speech, peaceful protest, and the right "to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
"The bill comes amid many arrests at protests for Daunte Wright, a young Black man killed by police last Sunday," The Minnesota Daily reports. "Thousands of college students from several universities across the Twin Cities have participated in protests against police brutality, following the police killing of George Floyd in May 2020. Those protests have not lost much momentum over the past year, and key messages have included issues ranging from police brutality to climate change and voting rights."
Bill Barr and Amy Coney Barrett score book deals as other ex-Trump figures struggle to get published
Former Trump administration Attorney General William Barr, who later fell out with Trump for disagreeing with his voter fraud conspiracy theories, recently closed a book deal. Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Trump's final pick for the Supreme Court, nailed an "eye-raising" $2 million advance for her book on how judges are supposed to remain unbiased.
According to POLITICO, it's not clear yet what Barr will cover, but his book comes amidst a sea of Democrats disdainful of Trump who seem to be favored by publishers.
"I think [publishers] try to draw a line between those who are operating in reality or got off the train before it crashed and those who are living in Trump-world in an alternative reality, and for New York book publishing, which is a super woke environment for things like that. It's going to be tough to publish a lot of Trump administration officials," one publishing insider told POLITICO.
One example is former Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro, whose initial attempts to sell a book was rebuffed by publishers.
"Navarro was seen as a kook before this, so it's not as if Peter Navarro would have an easy time selling a book prior to the administration," said another publishing source.
Interest from publishers for a potential book by Jared Kushner also seem mixed.
"In terms of trying to figure out his audience, I don't think he has a lot of credibility with the MAGA audience, which is where you need these books to sell like hot cakes and then trying to publish it as liberal torture porn is not going to work either," a source told POLITICO.
"There will only be a few more big books from the administration that succeed," said another publishing industry source. "I think Trump is fading much quicker from the national consciousness than people were banking on."
Read the full report over at POLITICO.
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