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Cuba's long-delayed Communist Party congress set for April

By the CNN Wire Staff
Cuban President Raul Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez mark the 10th anniversary of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) on Monday.
Cuban President Raul Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez mark the 10th anniversary of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) on Monday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Cuba's last Communist Party congress was in 1997
  • The meetings are used to set policy
  • The congress also will determine if Fidel Castro will stay on has head of the party
  • He renounced all other government titles after stepping down in 2006

Havana, Cuba (CNN) -- Cuban President Raul Castro announced on Monday that the Communist Party will hold a long-delayed congress next April as the country struggles to reshape its Soviet economic model.

There hasn't been a congress since 1997. Castro postponed one scheduled for the end of 2009 so the government could focus on preventing a full-blown economic crisis.

Castro made the announcement alongside Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at an activity to renew a social and economic pact between the two countries.

The congress will also be important because it will determine if Fidel Castro will stay on as the head of the Communist Party, the only legal party in Cuba.

He stepped down in 2006 and has renounced all other titles.

This will be the party's sixth congress since Fidel Castro seized power in 1959. The meetings are used to set policy.