Chronology: Ten Years Without Fidel Castro
Since the proclamation in which Fidel Castro temporarily delegated power on 31 July 2006, the former president has met with two popes, has received visits several European, Asian and Latin American leaders and has written hundreds of articles under the title “Reflections.”
However, his role in the daily lives of Cubans has diminished and in the political sphere control has been consolidated under the control exercised by his brother Raul Castro. To develop a chronology of these ten years is a risky and difficult task, because at the end of the day it is a portrait of the end of this era that carries the name “Fidelismo.”
July 31: Carlos Valenciaga, member of the Council of State, read on television Fidel Castro’s proclamation provisionally delegating his responsibilities to his brother Raul and also close collaborators.
Aug. 1: The first stage of Operation Caguairán begins, with extensive military mobilization throughout the country, including the deployment of tens of thousands of active troops and reservists.
August 13: No official celebrations are held for the 80th birthday of Fidel Castro.
August 14: TV shows a video of Fidel Castro convalescing in bed while being visited by Hugo Chavez.
September 16: Fidel Castro is elected as President of the Non-Aligned Movement during its XIV Summit in Havana, despite not having been present at the meeting.
December 2: Celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the landing of the yacht Granma are held, but the tributes for the 80th birthday of Fidel Castro announced in the proclamation do not happen.
December 26: The first details on Fidel Castro’s condition are released, when the Spanish doctor Jose Luis Garcia Sabrido, head of surgery at Gregorio Maranon hospital, reveals in Madrid that he is recovering and that does not have cancer.
March 28: The first of the Reflections of Fidel Castro, which continue to appear periodically in the official press, is published. The first article speaks against ethanol production from corn.
24 May: Fidel Castro breaks his silence about his health and says in a Reflection that what happened “was not just one operation but several. Initially it was not successful, and this implied a prolonged recovery.”
May 25: Fidel Castro, “will live to be 140,” said Cuban physician Eugenio Selman, who for years was part of the medical team caring for the rulers.
June 5: Cuban television broadcast an interview of Fidel Castro with journalist Randy Alonso, the first since the reading of his Proclamation temporarily ceding power.
February 19: Fidel Castro announced in a text published in the Granma newspaper that ne will not accept or does he aspire to the positions of “Chairman of the State Council and Commander in Chief” and clarifies that these responsibilities require “total mobility and dedication” and he is not “in a physical position to offer it.”
24 February: Raul Castro is elected president of the Council of State State Council and as first vice president he appoints Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, a figure of the “old guard” instead of the younger Carlos Lage.
April 28: Raul Castro announces that the postponed Sixth Congress of the Cuban Communist Party will be held, and he commutes most death sentences to 30 years or life in prison. Because of delays, the Congress does not take place until April 16, 2011.
March 2: Raul Castro dismisses Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque, and the secretary of the Executive Committee of the Council of Ministers, Carlos Lage Davila, in what many analysts characterize as a purge against “Fidel’s men.” Also dismissed are Fernando Remirez de Estenoz, head of International Relations for the Cuban Communist Party, Otto Rivero, vice president of the Council of Ministers and Carlos Valenciaga, chief of staff to Fidel Castro and the man who read Fidel Castro’s Proclamation temporarily ceding power.
March 3: Fidel Castro publishes a Reflection where he accuses Perez Roque and Lage and says that “The honey of power, for which they made no sacrifice, awoke ambitions in them that led them to an unworthy role.”
December 20: Raul Castro detailed at the National Assembly during the year that 126,000 boarders of pre-university education has been moved to cities and work was underway to move another 80,000, realizing one of the key educational goals of Fidel Castro.
February 23: The political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo dies after 86 days on hunger strike. Activists protest throughout the country and the government unleashes a strong crackdown.
February 24: Regime opponent Guillermo Fariñas begins a hunger strike that will last for 135 days to demand the release of political prisoners.
May 19: A meeting is held between President Raul Castro and the principal Cuban Catholic authorities: Archbishop of Havana Cardinal Jaime Ortega, and Secretary of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba, Dionisio García. Cardinal Ortega confirms that the situation of political prisoners is being addressed “very seriously” with the government.
March 16: The Ladies in White initiate several protest marches in Havana on the seventh anniversary of the conviction and imprisonment of their families. They are harshly repressed.
June 11: The Government informs the Catholic Church of the imminent release from prison for health reasons of dissident Ariel Sigler and the new transfer of six prisoners to prisons in their home provinces.
June 27: In his Reflections Fidel Castro predicts an imminent war and warns that “a catastrophe” is “rapidly” approaching and could even happen before the quarterfinals of the Football World Cup in South Africa.
July 7: The church reports in a statement the agreement between the Cuban government, the Church and representatives of the Spanish government to free the 52 prisoners of the Black Spring within a period of “three to four months.”
July 7: The first public appearance of Fidel Castro since the announcement of his convalescence, in a visit to the National Center for Scientific Research (CNIC).
July 8: Regime opponent Guillermo Farinas ends his hunger strike.
August 7: Fidel Castro addresses the National Assembly and says that “the current order established on the planet can not endure, and inevitably will collapse immediately.”
April 19: Fidel Castro participates in the closing day of the Sixth Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, with his brother, who relieved him as first secretary of the party organization.
September 21: The Official Gazette publishes Decree Law 286 subordinating the Social Workers Program to the the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, giving the final blow to one of the last programs undertaken by Fidel Castro.
October 1: Enter the decree law that allows the purchase and sale of cars, one of the most anticipated action by the Cuban population and whose postponement was awarded to the express will of Fidel Castro in force.
November 10: Buying and selling homes is authorized another very missed by the Cubans and whose approval measure was unthinkable during the government of Fidel Castro.
December 23: The government of Raul Castro announces the pardon of more than 2,900 prisoners.
March 28: Pope Benedict XVI meets with Fidel Castro and his family at the Nunciature of Havana during the pope’s visit to Cuba. Castro seizes the moment to ask the Bishop of Rome “What does a pope do, what is your mission?”
14 January: Travel and immigration rules take effect relaxing requirements and eliminating the “exit permit” also know as the “white card.” The flexibility will allow dozens of dissidents to travel outside the country and greatly increase the numbers of Cubans emigrating
4 February: Fidel Castro appears in person to vote at a polling station in Havana during the elections to elect the 612 deputies of the National Assembly and the 1,269 provincial delegates.
24 February: Fidel Castro presides with his brother Raul at the opening of the eighth session of the National Assembly of People’s Power, after almost three years without appearing at the meetings of the Assembly.
March 29: The Cuban National Assembly approves the new Law on Foreign Investment.
April 29: Cuba and the European Union meet in Havana to start negotiations to normalize bilateral relations.
December 17: Raul Castro and Barack Obama deliver public speeches where they announce that both governments have been negotiating for 18 months seeking the reestablishment of diplomatic relations.
April 11: Barack Obama and Raul Castro meet during the Summit of the Americas in Panama.
July 20: Cuba opens its embassy in Washington in a ceremony headed by Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.
August 14: United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, presides over the ceremony of hoisting the US flag over its embassy in Havana. Later he meets with a group of Cuban activists at the residence of US Chargé d’Affaires on the island.
September 19: Pope Francis meets Fidel Castro during his visit to Cuba, and gives him a collection of sermons of the Spanish Jesuit Amando Llorente, who was a teacher at the school where Castro studied, but who was forced to leave the island shortly after the triumph of the Revolution, after the expulsion of foreign religious.
March 20-22: President Barack Obama makes an official visit to Cuba but does not met with Fidel Castro.
March 28: Fidel Castro publishes a Reflection under the title “Brother Obama” in which he castigates the speech of US president in the Gran Teatro de La Habana, for using “syrupy” words to express: ” It is time, now, for us to leave the past behind. It is time for us to look forward to the future together — un futuro de esperanza.” [a future of hope]
April 19: Fidel Castro speaks at the closing of the VII Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, where he recognizes that “perhaps this will be the last time” he will speak at the Palace of Conventions.