The Cuba news headlines this morning were buzzing with news and analysis about dictator in waiting Miguel Diaz-Canel, the newly appointed first vice-president in Cuba and technically, first in line after Raul Castro to the dictatorship of Cuba. Unfortunately, most of these news stories ignore the history of the Cuban dictatorship and its habit of trotting out a “young buck” as heir apparent to the revolution only to cut him off at the knees the moment he gets too big for his britches, his usefulness is exhausted, or both. Biology, however, plays a bigger role now more than ever since the Castro brothers are both in their eighties and unless their pact with the devil promised a longer than expected life span, sooner rather than later, they will will be descending into the fiery pits of you know where.
Nevertheless, the press cannot help themselves and have begun their tired practice of speculating on what will happen next in Cuba while completely ignoring Cuban/Castro history.
For the first time since 1959, Cuba faces life after Castro
Ageing President Raúl Castro, brother of Fidel, appoints new deputy and signals transition to democracy
As they digested yesterday’s solemn pledge from Raúl Castro at the annual meeting of the National Assembly to make his new five-year term as president his last, the people of Cuba today pondered a future where – after all these decades of stubborn isolation and political repression – a Castro would no longer be in charge.
The pronouncement – “this will be my last term,” Mr Castro, 81, said firmly, with his elder brother and the former president, Fidel, looking on – was at once shocking and barely so. But at the very least it means that by 2018, Raúl will relinquish power and the leadership of the island nation will for the first time pass to someone who was not part of the 1959 revolution that brought Soviet-style socialism to the island and expelled capitalism.
On elevating the silver-haired Mr Díaz-Canel to his new position, Mr Castro said that Cuba had reached a point of “historic transcendence”. He went on: “It represents a definitive step in the configuration of the future leadership of the nation.” Mr Castro spoke of capping all political posts, including the presidency, to two five-year terms, and hinted at other reforms to the constitution far-reaching enough to warrant a national referendum.
Continue reading HERE.
However, the best analysis I have read so far regarding the appointment of Miguel Diaz-Canel as Cuba’s dictator in waiting comes from our good friend Marc Masferrer, who neatly sums up Sunday’s events in Havana in a short and sweet statement:
It was left unsaid, but do not let it be forgotten that Diaz-Canel has been tapped to eventually take the helm of a regime that beats the Damas De Blanco in the streets; that imprisons journalists and other dissidents for their opposition to the Castros; and that systematically impoverishes the Cuban people.
Whatever his individual style, whatever the “experts” might tell you what his elevation might mean for prospects for “reforms” in Cuba, do not forget that Diaz-Canel is just a dictator in training.