Reports from Cuba: Raul Castro: The general in his defeat

Rafaela Cruz writes from Havana via Diario de Cuba:

Raúl Castro: the general in his defeat

Erratic policies, produced by fear and devoid of objectives, have been the hallmarks of this Raulian era, the perfect culmination of a regime that is close to disappearing and that no one will miss.

If pathological cowardice is mixed with intellectual vacuity, the result is a Raúl Castro. This general with more stars on his epaulettes than shots fired in combat – his command on the Second Front was a kind of camping trip – would border on the pathetic if it were not for the fact that while he basks in Cuba’s best cays, the people are scraping and struggling just to eat.

His late brother —the main character responsible for the country’s ruin—  although racking up a string of disasters sufficient to fill an encyclopedia of failure, at least had the ability to survive by prostituting himself politically, monetizing his virulent ideology, and exporting his totalitarian method. But Raúl cannot even manage that.

The general inherited power claiming to be a reformer, kindling hope for a more open and dynamic Cuba. His close circle confirmed his admiration for China and he, in an outburst of revolutionary courage, dared to declare that every Cuban was going to drink all the milk he wanted, an unprecedented achievement under any kind of socialism.

But, instead of pulling off the astonishing feat of milk everywhere, the island under Raúl, a Cuba of dry cows wandering through plains overgrown with marabou, this Cuba deprived of even dehydrated milk, but not police cars, has had to “set priorities within priorities” and end up only guaranteeing milk for children under six months and “50% of consumption for children who have diets due to chronic diseases.” The general has been defeated in the Battle for Milk.

The other and probably the biggest undertaking of this great leader of international communism was the Mariel Special Development Zone, whose “geographical location on the route of our hemisphere’s main maritime transport flows” was bound to promote its consolidation “as a logistical platform of the first order at the regional level,” according to his triumphant inaugural words.

Ten years later, after having saddled the country with debt, there are only 64 businesses in the area, and in a whole decade it has captured just 3.34 billion dollars, a figure that pales before the 4 billion in foreign investment that the Dominican Republic captures annually. The Battle of Mariel has been his greatest defeat.

The general, who suffers from clear symptoms of anencephaly, does not understand that the advantage of Cuba’s geographical situation is not its proximity to Mexico, Guatemala or Haiti, but rather the mere 90 nautical miles that separate it from the most powerful market in the world; something that is worthless, however, if your policies shut the doors on such a commercial paradise.

If you’re on bad terms with the Yankees, it doesn’t matter if you build a deep-water port north of Cuba or south of Antarctica, international trade will ignore you.

The general should have known, then, that Mariel’s success did not depend on how many modern cranes its poorly paid engineers installed, or the depth to which the docking channel was dredged, but rather Cuban diplomats not being perceived in Washington as accomplices and allies of the West’s greatest enemies.

He may have known all that, but Raúl was too cowardly to abandon those cronies who applauded him for still being the pharaoh of a collapsing island; he was still the pharaoh, at least.

No milk or Mariel. Raúl and his henchmen, devoid of Fidel’s magnetism and disoriented by a Left no longer really concerned with the class struggle, are increasingly alone, fossilized like a Cold War missile in a museum that no one visits, a relic isolated in a dusty urn, unable to connect with modernity.

Erratic policies, products of fear and devoid of objectives, due to a lack of intelligence, have been the hallmarks of this Raulian era, the perfect culmination of a regime that began deceiving millions, survived by murdering thousands, and that is now close to disappearing, destined to be missed by no one, thanks to Raúl and his defeats.

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