Top Communist jailed for corruption

Campaign News | Wednesday, 21 June 2006

Once high-flying government member sentenced to 12 years in prison

Cuba has sentenced a once high-flying government member to 12 years in prison for corruption, the Cuban Communist Party announced on Wednesday.

Juan Carlos Robinson,who had been expelled from the ruling Politburo in April, pleaded guilty, official media reported.

Robinson, 49, had once been seen as an example of Cuba's future leadership.

President Fidel Castro, who turns 80 in August, last year vowed to stamp out corruption which he said threatened the survival of Cuba's socialist system.

Robinson was tried and convicted last week, the official Granma newspaper said.

"It was demonstrated that Robinson, in the open process of his ideological weakening and with abuse of his position, forgot his high responsibilities and the integrity demanded of a revolutionary cadre and used his influence to obtain benefits," said Granma newspaper.

In April Robinson was sacked from the ruling Politburo, accused of arrogance, dishonesty and abuse of power.

On Wednesday, the party leadership indicated that Robinson's fate should be an example, saying "in our country, no-one despite their responsibilities and merits can violate the law. He who does so will inexorably receive the weight of revolutionary justice."

Robinson's conviction comes amid a series of changes in the Communist Party across the island, with several top officials being replaced.

The government has said increased vigilance against corruption is required as the country emerges from what was labelled its "special period" - more than 15 years of serious economic hardship following the demise of its former benefactor, the Soviet Union.

Late last year, President Castro announced an anti-corruption campaign.

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