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Cuba announces limited political reforms

Cuba said Saturday it would revitalize its one-party communist system through internal reforms but ruled out the multiparty option being followed by its main political ally, the Soviet Union. The Cuban Central Committee proposed no constitutional changes but called on the party to step up its political work among Cuba's 10-million people and strengthen its popular roots.

"Conditions have matured to start a concrete and practical process of perfecting the political and institutional system of the nation," the central committee of the ruling Communist Party said in a statement covering the whole front page of the party daily Granma.

It called an extraordinary meeting of the country's National Assembly for Tuesday and said the party's fourth congress would be held in the first half of 1991 at a date to be announced.

The statement announced plans to reinvigorate the country's political institutions from the Central Committee and the National Assembly to the neighborhood Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, which are heavily involved in the day-to-day life of Cubans.

It recognized that the socialist system in the world faced crisis but excluded any move toward multiparty democracy.

"It should be clear that .


. what we are talking about is the perfecting of a single, Leninist party based on the principles of democratic centralism," it said.

This marked a clear distancing of Cuba's leadership from a decision earlier this month by the Soviet Communist Party to forego its political monopoly and open the way for a multiparty system.