Married with three children, he studied at the University of Seville and became a technical architect. In the late 1960s he was a Trade Union activist for the Unión General de Trabajadores, which at that time was illegal under the Franco dictatorship.
Cuevas was one of the earliest members of the reformist pro-capitalist "New Way" (nueva via) current within the PSOE which propelled leading member José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero to power. He is a strong supporter of a single energy market for Europe
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