(Refiles to fix typo in 3rd paragraph)
HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba fired Basic Industry
Minister Yadira Garcia, in charge of the oil and nickel
industries, Sunday and said the first vice minister would
stand in until a replacement was named.
A government communique said Garcia was let go due to "her
deficiencies manifested, especially in poor control of
resources destined for investment and the productive process."
First Vice Minister Thomas Benitez was named as a temporary
replacement "until a new minister can be appointed," the
The ministry is also in charge of the cement industry and
domestic pharmaceutical industry.
The Cuban oil industry is preparing to drill with foreign
partners in the Gulf of Mexico next year and in partnership
with Venezuela is developing its refining and other oil related
Unrefined nickel is Cuba's most important export at around
70,000 tonnes per year and a joint venture with Venezuela plans
to add 60,000 tonnes of ferronickel by 2013.
Garcia was the last economic minister inherited by
President Raul Castro in 2008 when he replaced ailing brother
Raul Castro replaced the other ministers in 2009.
(Reporting by Marc Frank; Editing by Stacey Joyce)