A Conservative Who Calls Issues As He Sees Them!

April 19, 2018 was a date that had been long awaited in the annals of Cuban history. On said date, a new day in a post-Castro era was to begin with the elevation of Miguel Díaz-Canel to the presidency of Cuba. Many people expected this change of guard would bring positive changes to a Cuban population that had endured innumerable hardships during the Fidel/Raul Castro regimes. Nothing could be further from reality.

To begin with, Díaz-Canel will occupy a secondary position to Raul Castro, who will remain as head of the Communist Party – according to the Cuban Constitution, the most powerful “force of society and the state.” Castro also remains Commander-in-Chief of the Revolutionary Armed Forces. With control of the Communist Party and the military, nothing will get enacted without the approval of Raul Castro.

It is the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party that issues all decrees pertaining to all the country’s policies, and which are subsequently rubber-stamped by a subservient legislature (National Assembly). Evidence of this subservience was the 603-1 vote to elect Díaz-Canel by members of the National Assembly.

Moreover, Díaz-Canel will be surrounded by other members of the Castro Mafia who will not only keep an eye on him, but will derail any changes that they view as deviant to the hardline, communist orthodoxy.

Colonel Alejandro Castro Espín, Raul’s son, controls the intelligence services for the military and the Interior Ministry. Further evidence of Alejandro’s membership in Raul’s inner circle is the fact that he participated in the secret negotiations between the U.S. and Cuba, via the Vatican, that led to the 2014 opening.

General Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Callejas — who used to be married to Raul Castro’s daughter Deborah — is the president of Gaesa, a conglomerate that controls the military’s business interests ranging from hotels to restaurants.

Díaz-Canel promised to the press in March of 2018 to make Cuba’s government more responsive to its people. But, how can he truly mean what he said when he was the sole candidate that the Cuban people were given to succeed Raul Castro? The fact that there were no opposition candidates for the presidency means Cubans had no voice in electing a leader of their choice.
And to address the current disenchantment afflicting the younger generation that is hungry for better economic conditions, Díaz-Canel stated that the new period would be guided by “modernization of the economic and social model.” Nevertheless, almost in the same breath, he said that the transition would not bring sweeping changes and swore there would not be a return to capitalism.

But a return to capitalism is the only change that would turn around Cuba’s economic malaise. It is precisely the Soviet-style centrally planned economy of the last fifty-nine years that has generated an average salary of $30 a month and which has turned the Caribbean Island into a third-world country.

With all the energy spent in the careful shuffling of chess pieces by the Raul Castro Mafia, something could go astray. Think for a moment of a work situation. If an applicant wants to rise to the top of the career ladder, he/she is best served by keeping a low profile regarding his/her vision that is best reserved for when he/she attains the ultimate goal.

This is exactly the trajectory that Díaz-Canel has followed. Now that he’s become the next President of Cuba, he can unveil an action plan that will unleash the dormant energies of a stagnant, centrally-planned economy and embrace a market economy that will bring wealth and prosperity to most Cubans. He will face stiff opposition from the military, for sure, but his magic weapon would become the disenchanted younger generation who could call for a national strike if its demands were not met.

If on the other hand, Díaz-Canel decides to be a loyal figurehead, not much will change for Cubans with his election to the presidency. However, Cuban Government officials will no doubt use this feat as a propaganda ploy to fool those who are always willing to drink the Kool-Aid served by communist apparatchiks that a new day has arrived for a better Cuba.

Most Cubans would be better served by looking up to American guitarist George Benson and demand that world leaders and fake-news media outlets remove “this masquerade” of change. Most Cubans would agree with the Santeria ritual of blowing cigar smoke into the air as a metaphor for smoke and mirrors in a Cuba AC (After Castro).

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