As you may remember, Raul Castro had promised to leave power next February. It was a done deal, as everyone in the international media reported.
A few days ago, Raul Castro decided to extend his term. Don’t you love how dictators do that?
The official explanation is Hurricane Irma, or the serious damage that it did to the island. This is what they are now saying in news reports:
The official announcement, published in the Communist Party newspaper Granma on Thursday, said the decision was made because of the impact of Hurricane Irma, which hit Cuba as a category 5 storm in September and caused more than $13 billion in damages.
Storm recovery also delayed municipal elections — the first step in a process that was to culminate in the Feb. 24 election of a new National Assembly and the selection of a new president. Provincial elections where candidates are selected by slates determined by electoral commissions also were postponed until March 25.
Well, what’s going on?
To be fair, the hurricane was horrible. It did cause a lot of damage to Cuba’s tourism locations.
But as my late father used to say, don’t trust a word from these Castro brothers. Or, there is always something else going on behind all of those press releases! So naturally, the promise to leave is not going to be kept.
My guess is that there are a couple of things going on.
The Cuban economy is a disaster, in large part because bureaucrats are fighting reforms. In Castro’s Cuba, the loyal bureaucrats drive private cars and their wives go shopping in Mexico City. Reforms will end many of those privileges!
Second, the collapse of Venezuela ended a huge subsidy.
Third, President Trump’s new approach toward Cuba has distanced the U.S. from President Obama’s normalization-of-relations plan.
Add to this the “sonic attacks” and this is not the movie that Raul Castro had hoped to release!
Raul Castro has to know that “reforms” or a successor who decides to get close to President Trump, will likely mean the end of Alejandro and the family racket that has been so profitable!
So what happens in Cuba? Stay tuned because North Korea may not be the real foreign policy issue of early 2018. I think that Raul Castro may be finally realizing that his brother left him a mess beyond repair.