Despite all the fanfare and speculation regarding the retirement of Cuba’s dictator Raul Castro, few are addressing the fact that Castro will remain head of the Communist Party after his retirement. In Cuba, the country is run by the party, not the “president.” As head of the party, Castro will remain in complete control ensuring not only his family’s rule over the island, but also ensuring that nothing changes that will challenge that rule.
Why Will Raúl Castro Continue to Head Cuba’s Communist Party?
Pedro Campos, former diplomat and analyst
It is quite likely, but it is not certain until it is announced. If, in the end, he were to remain as First Secretary, it would be to guarantee that his successor adheres to his plans to “change, but not too much”, and be able to supervise the Government from the Party.
However, the dynamics arising from the existence of a Government headed by people different from those who control the Party can be many and varied, and entail unpredictable consequences.
He would continue to head the PCC because if those who succeed him fix the problem, they could argue that it was under his wise direction. But, if things do not go well, the new leaders could be blamed for not doing things right. He has stood out for delegating functions, not for fighting for things and then using the whip when they don’t go as expected.
Juan Antonio Blanco, Director of the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba
It is a phased withdrawal. He wants to see how everyone behaves, step by step. If he detects any disloyalty, he would still be there to crush it. However, he has little time left. Raúl is old and his health is delicate. In the little time that he has left, he must be loath to ??work with his brother’s doggedness and attention to administrative detail.
Lartiza Diversent, Attorney and Director of the Legal Information Center, Cubalex
Because he will continue heading the current power structures, which is why he was also elected a national representative, and, if he is not elected President of the Council of State (which I presume he will), he will be a member of this body too, or perhaps oversee the Ministry of the Armed Forces.
To be the leader of the Party is to be the leader of the State. Besides the fact that the Constitution itself recognises the PCC as the State’s overseeing force, thanks to the current electoral system, it is the Party that organises and decides who will occupy the positions in the State apparatus. In other words, it controls and supplants the State.
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