They stuck with the historicos.
There’s no surprise in Raul Castro’s election to the presidency, but the choice of Jose Ramon Machado Ventura as first vice president, and first in line of succession, was not predicted anywhere.
Machado, 77, is a veteran of the Sierra Maestra.
By his reputation, one would expect him to oppose an economic opening. On the other hand, if reforms are in store and he is in favor, then his election is a sign of consensus, across generations and ideological tendencies. As they say in the mutual fund business, past earnings are not a guarantee of future performance.
What matters for the welfare of the Cuban people, and for
[Update: Among the points in Raul’s speech: he wants to streamline the bureaucracy, he refers to a study about “a progressive, gradual, and prudent revaluation of the Cuban peso, and “in the coming weeks” we will see elimination of some of the prohibitions that he called “excessive” last December.
If he ends the dual currency system, he will eliminate the most widespread grievance; most Cubans’ salaries don’t allow them to afford the basic necessities that they must buy in hard currency. As for the “prohibitions,” that may be the most interesting signal because he is promising action in the near term. Currency reform has been on the agenda for years.]