Democracy Delayed Is Democracy Denied

José Azel from the Cuba Transition Project in the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies reminds us that the “hallucination in which Raul Castro intervenes forcefully to end the communist era and inaugurates a new democratic and market oriented Cuba is not how the story ends.“ What’s important, he argues, is what happens after (r)aúl’s numbered days.
In this report, Azel looks at the transition of a militarized Cuba after (f)idel’s younger brother is also out of the picture:

Once the Castro brothers are no longer in the picture the military elite will be highly motivated to lead the way towards a privatization of the economy. Specifically the military officers will have every incentive to champion a manipulated privatization of the industries under their managerial control in order to monetize their managerial positions. Alas, this illegitimate and corrupt mockery of a privatization process will end up with the military managing team as the new ownership team initially controlling the cash flows and eventually creating the market conditions to monetize their equity position.
A “liberalization” of the Cuban economy following its current militarization, if not conducted in a transparent democratic environment, is likely to make the military elite into instant millionaires as the new Cuban “captains of industry.” In another possible parallel to the Russian experience, only sixteen years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, we learn that: “Russia with 87 billionaires is the new number two country behind the U.S., easily overtaking Germany, with 59 billionaires…” (1) Either Russian businessmen posses the most extraordinary entrepreneurial skills in world history or their ascendancy in wealth accumulation has a suspect origin.
In a supreme ironic twist we could see a post-Fidel/Raul situation in which a fraudulent privatization takes place leaving the likes of Gen. Julio Casas Regueiro as the new majority shareholder of GAESA Enterprises with Raul Castro’s son-in-law Col. Luis Alberto Lopez Callejas as his CFO, Comandante Ramiro Valdez Menendez as the new CEO and sole owner of the newly created Cuban Electronics Group, Gen. Ulises Rosales del Toro as Board Chairman and controlling shareholder of the new Cuban Sugar Enterprises, Marcos Portal León, another of Raul Castro’s relatives, as president and COO of the lucrative Cuba Nickel, S.A. and more.

Read it here.