Wednesday, August 1, 2007

"Raul lit a flame that shall burn for eternity"

What to make of Fidel Castro’s cryptic July 31 “reflection?” (English here, Spanish here.)

He calls it a “proclamation” and refers to “questions as to when I will take up again what some call power.” He goes on to make no clear proclamation, and he leaves those questions hanging right there.

It sounds as if he is passing the torch to Raul, but Fidel reiterates that he is being consulted on all major decisions. He seems to be saying that he will remain content in his current role, commenting in the newspaper, not returning formally to office, “struggling” in the realm of ideas.

The question that matters is not whether he returns formally to office, but rather how Fidel Castro influences policies from his current position. And we are not likely, to say the least, to learn about the conversations between Raul and his brother about “every important decision.”

Our only real guide will be the course the government takes in the economic policies that Raul has marked as a priority.


leftside said...

A clue to the economic policies forthcoming might be found here: "The struggle against our own deficiencies and against the insolent enemy which seeks to take possession of Cuba must be unrelenting."

The "deficiencies" have been defined, but who is the "enemy" that seeks to take posession of Cuba?? Is he talking taking over militarily, or economically? Probably both. I think it's another clue that upcoming refoms will strictly limit how those with access to (Miami front) dollars are able to benefit.

leftside said...

I also think it is interested how this new strategic ambiguity is being viewed from different quarters. These and other statements allow enough room for folks on both sides of the political divide to claim that Fidel both is and is not in charge.

For example, on a day when most media is reading this as another sign of Fidel letting go, a VOA report is titled "Castro says he is 'very involved' in Running Cuba." The report also says Fidel "advised against negotiation with the US." In fact, he simply said no one should have the illusion that the US is ready to negotiate with Cuba.

Hardliners will be able to continue to blame Fidel for everything they don't like, while anti-embargo folks will be able to claim a transition has occured. Not many will be content to admit the reality - that everything is as it was and the country marches ahead on the same path.

Anonymous said...

"That everything is as it was and the country marches ahead on the same path."
Yes, right along on the path to an abysmal disaster. More of the same as the last 45 years. Raul will never change anything because he is a hadcore stalinist, (indeed Stalin is his hero) just like his older brother. Onwards toward the communist society, in other words toward more deprivations, more opression, more terror, and total absence of human rights. And of course, all the time shouting: long live the revolution! Waht a great future awaits the Cuban people.! A really bright future.

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

Most often things do not appear as they seem...