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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 June 2006, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
Cuba jails top Communist member
Juan Carlos Robinson
Robinson, 49, had been a party member since 1982
Cuba has sentenced a once high-flying government member to 12 years in prison for corruption, the Cuban Communist Party has announced.

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

Robinson, 49, had 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.


Robinson was one of the few Afro-Cuban political figures on the island and had been presented by the government as an example of Cuba's young black leadership.

But in April he was sacked from the ruling Politburo, accused of arrogance, dishonesty and abuse of power.

Fidel Castro at a literacy conference on 9 June
Castro has made tackling corruption a priority

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.

Thousands of students were deployed to work at petrol stations to deter pilfering while others have been sent into state companies to audit accounts.

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