03/02/13 - Kearney Hub - In 2018, an end to Castros in Cuba
Raul Castro has been rubber-stamped into another term as Cuba's president.
He says this term will be his last and that he will retire in 2018. In 54
years, Cubans have had only two presidents - not that they had much choice
in the matter - Raul, 81, and his ailing older brother, Fidel, 86, the
country's long-serving dictator who stepped aside for Raul only when ill
health forced him to.
Bypassing an entire generation of aging Castroites, Raul named Miguel
Diaz-Canel, 52, as his new first vice president and heir apparent.
Diaz-Canel replaces Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, 81, who fought alongside
the Castros in the Cuban revolution.
Raul praised Machado Ventura for his patriotism and selflessness in making
way for Diaz-Canel, although voluntarily relinquishing power has not been a
hallmark of the Castros' Cuba.
Raul told a gathering of legislative leaders that he plans to establish
two-term limits for Cuba's top political offices and establish age limits
for holding those offices. These may be well-intentioned reforms, but they
would also assure that no future leaders challenge the Castro brothers for
their place in Cuba's history books.
Raul reiterated his commitment "to defend, maintain and continue to perfect
socialism," but while in office he nibbled at the edges of Cuba's pervasive
state socialism, allowing certain types of private businesses and real
estate ownership, and easing travel restrictions. Those steps were small
and slow in coming.
Diaz-Canel, an electrical engineer by training, is a former minister of
higher education and headed the Communist Party in two provinces. He
learned quickly when a charismatic patron of his was dumped by the Castros
that the better part of valor was to be neither seen nor heard. He
apparently excels in backroom politics.
Meanwhile, Raul could celebrate his second term and indicate his desire for
friendly relations with the U.S. by releasing Alan Gross, 63, a USAID
contractor who was arrested in 2009 and sentenced to 15 years in prison for
illegally bringing communications equipment onto the island.
Gross' crime was apparently trying to link Cuba's small Jewish community to
other Jewish communities by Internet.
Scripps Howard News Service
Original Source / Fuente Original:
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