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Can the “Raulistas” afford to see Raul go?

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A day or so ago, I found this great memo written in Cuba about Raúl Castro’s decision to extend his term just a little bit longer.  It was originally written in Spanish, but my amigos in Babalu translated it for us.

The Cuban writer raises the idea that there is something going on in Cuba and that Raúl is under pressure to stay.  This is the translation:

On the morning of 21 December 2017, it became known in the international media that “the Cuban Parliament” – whose most outstanding feature is not having decided anything at all in its more than 40 years of existence – has “just decided” to extend the presidential mandate of General Raúl Castro until 19 April 2018.

The real reasons for making a decision that implies another unfulfilled promise on the part of the elderly [g]eneral – who had promised to leave the country’s [p]residency on 24 February 2018 – is a mystery, given that the supposed difficulties introduced in the electoral process [by] Hurricane Irma, which hit the island in early September, [are] too precarious a pretext to be taken seriously[.] …

Perhaps the Raulistas are waging a strategic battle in order to guarantee their own continuity at the head of the country, and especially the safeguarding of their economic interests, so everything must be tied and re-tied before the presidency’s transfer to the hands of a loyalist who does not belong to the Historical Generation, avoiding unforeseen and unwanted events. 

The truly surprising thing is the impression of urgency and instability that is being transmitted, trying to consolidate, in a matter of three months, something that should have been achieved in a decade[.] …

But the current constraints of Raulism, in a December that has had more haste than pauses, are not confined to the political plane, but began instead to affect the economic plane.  Just a few days ago, on 13 December, untimely “new legal norms” appeared and went into effect over the Cuban business system[.] …

But beyond all speculation we must recognize that the Cuban political landscape is at least confusing.  In any other country where the predominant characteristics of the government are hesitation[;] setbacks[;] failure to comply with all its promises[;] and, finally, the postponement of the presidential elections, the situation would be described as a “political crisis.”  Not so in Cuba.  At least not explicitly.  Four generations of Cubans on the island have survived for six decades under conditions of dictatorship, suffering crises of all kinds without even internalizing them as such.  How would they perceive the crises that are resolved within the bosom of the olive-green Olympus?

Time will tell, but this writer is correct, in my opinion.

Fidel and Raúl Castro built a dictatorship based on eliminating threats to their power and giving military leaders huge homes and lavish lifestyles.  They also built a huge enterprise, known as Castro Inc., where they had their hands on any foreign exchange that comes into the island.

Raúl’s son, Alejandro, is now running that family business, and he must be wondering how long he can hold on if real reforms follow.  Castro Inc. works because it is your only option if you want to build a hotel in Cuba!

What happens to all of this preferential treatment the day Raúl Castro fades away?  Or dies, because he is not a young man?

I think that the Raulistas are worried that their benefits and lifestyle will fade, too.

Who would have believed this?  Fidel is dead, and Raúl is left to watch and preserve the imploding structure.

PS: You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.


Written by scantojr

January 2, 2018 at 7:08 am

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