Fernando Rojas, Marcia Leiseca, Alpidio Alonso, Abel Prieto and María Elena SalgadoFormer Minister of Culture, writer and essayist Abel Prieto Jiménez, was presented on Monday as the new president of the Casa de las Américas.

Havana, Cuba.- The appointment of Prieto at the helm of the renown cultural institution founded in 1959, takes place after the death of its former president, poet, and essayist Roberto Fernández Retamar, who held that position from 1986 until his passing on July 20.

Casa de las Américas' La Ventana website reported on Monday that the Minister of Culture Alpido Alonso and other officials of the Ministry were on hand for the presentation.

Abel Prieto was president of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba and then Minister of Culture from 1997 to 2012. Prieto currently served as director president of the José Martí Cultural Society and director of the Office of the Program devoted to National Hero José Martí.

During the ceremony, it was announced that Marcia Leiseca, founder along with Haydee de la Casa and who has served for several decades as first vice-president, will execute the discharge of her position and begin the process of handover, a process that will be presided over by María Elena Salgado, first vice-minister of the Ministry of Culture.

In a gesture of gratitude and farewell, Arien González read the letter that Roberto Fernández Retamar wrote to Marcia on the occasion of her assignment as deputy minister of Culture in 1989, commending her virtues, loyalty and humbleness. (RHC)