Watching, Rooting, and Supporting this thing called "The New Cuba" (Cuba Specialist | Production | Sensei)

CUBA-ELECTIONS-CASTRO-LAGE
(Buh-Bye Carlos Lage, seen on the right)

Today there’s been an explosion in the news regarding Raul Castro’s first public stance against Fidel’s system. Back in December last year, I wrote about this notion of Raulists vs Fidelistas, and the rumor that big change was afoot inside the bubble.

Both The New York Times piece and Steve Clemons’ The Washington Note (both written 2 days ago) have verified that Raul is starting to axe people in Fidel’s camp and cleaning house.

If you know anything about Cuban politics, you could argue that Fidel has his Rumsfields and Cheney’s all around. Very smart men, but very controlling and um, not very nice. These men are considered Fidel’s closest team, strict Communists, and top advisers in government.

Here’s the main players that were fired.

Venezuela ALBA Summit
(Vice President Carlos Lage is Fired)

CUBA GOVERNMENT
(Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque is Fired)

To replace Perez Roque, the president named Brigadier General Jose Amado Ricardo Guerra as the new cabinet chief. Also, according to Bloomberg.com, Raul “merged some ministries in a bid to increase efficiency.” In short, Raul is consolidating his power and taking the reigns.

To debunk another conspiracy theory, Fidel Castro is not dead. His health condition has been a State secret and he hasnt appeared in public since he stepped down in 2006. There have been several reports of the bearded guy shuffling around the city with tons of security and Mercedes Benz’s around him. Locals are a little freaked out to talk about it because of guarded “State secret” aspect, but nonetheless, cubans can’t keep a secret, so the word is out that El Comandante is still alive, breathing, and taking strolls outside.

I’m hoping that the “fall of the extreme-minded of Cuba” will begin a trend with the “fall of the extreme-minded of Cuban-Americans”. It’s pretty nauseating witnessing the bickering between both old-school camps while at the same time seeing them feed each others hatred and beef. Move over bacon, now there’s something leaner!

Let’s just say this week was a BIG week of historical proportions for the Cuban government and for Communism.

As far as Raul and what type of sword he will wield? No exact word but it’s reported he’s demanding efficiency (a foreign concept in Cuba), pragmatism, and forward-thinking nation. As the Steve Clemons elegantly stated on Monday, “Raul Castro seems fully in control now — and he’s done with ideology”.

Let’s see how Raul drives the bus on Obama’s watch.
J

12 Responses to “Big Change In Cuba”

  1. insideplaya

    Thanks for keeping me in the game with fresh new, Word On The Street.

    insideplaya

  2. Daniel

    I’m curious to know what is happening in Cuba, but I’m just as anxious to figure out how long it will take Obama to change the U.S. policy towards Cuba.

  3. Al Perez

    Write On J!

    I love your take on the restructuring.
    Not enough has changed ON EITHER SIDE, but I’m hopeful that pragmatism will prevail…

  4. lajauretsi

    Daniel, to answer your question.. Obama is smart to take a step back. For starters, his main agenda is the economy, pulling troops out of Iraq, and healthcare…as well as a few other fires to put out. If we can’t take care of our own as a nation, then we’re no good to anyone else. It took 1 big hurricane for the American People to realize Bush can’t take care of his own. It took 3 hurricanes for the Cuban people to realize Fidel was not taking care of his own. Anyway, Obama is focusing on his people now… while at the same time, in a smart chess move, allowing the Cuban administration to pan itself out and figure themselves out before the dialogue begins. My instincts say that Obama will be the US President to restore relations with Cuba — if not in Term #1, then in Term #2.

  5. TM

    This is good. Obama and any communist should get along well. Obama is more tolerant of communism than past administrations since the Cold War. America will be more communist too so bridge building will be easier.

  6. lajauretsi

    Um… Are you being sarcastic or do you mean that for real? America has no intention of becoming Communist. There is a big difference between Socialism and Communism. One is an economic model. The other is an ideology. Obama has leanings on providing good health care and education to everyone — which is a model any nation should pursue. Sweden and France have good examples of Socialist programs. Neither of those countries are Communist. Having said all that, yes, we’ll need to bridge-build and understand and be tolerant of our differences — and attempt to promote democracy even though (of course) we are not perfect by any means in that area. It’s an ideal to strive for.

  7. ioana

    Every political and economic system has positive and negative points. Even communism. It’s not the systems, it’s the people who interpret them and manipulate them for their own agendas.

    The intelligent thing to do is to pay attention to what other countries have been doing and how it has worked for them. Perfect example France and Sweden. I know that gets complicated and it is not as easy as it sounds but the thing is that what we have going on in this country ain’t workin so hot right now. It’s kinda broke and yeah, we should fix it.

    There is no perfect formula and if Obama is attempting to find it by introducing Socialist elements, then I’m all about it.

    On the point of bridging with the Communists I completely agree with lajauretsi. New York is a pretty fair representation of the world as a whole. We are from different countries, cultures, religions, beliefs, so on and so forth. If we weren’t tolerant of one another this city would be a war zone.

    Understanding and toleration is a sign of intelligence not of weakness.

  8. Peter Gonzalez

    I refuse to believe that “it took 3 hurricanes for the Cuban people to realize Fidel was not taking care of his own.” If those Cubans living in Cuba figured out only recently that Fidel does not have their best interests in mind, then maybe the “brain drain” of the early 1960s left the island more mentally challenged than anyone contemplated.

    History shows that in many ways Raul is more ruthless than his older brother. Time will tell what Raul is capable of. Hopefully, Raul and Fidel will meet their maker simultaneously so real change can finally begin to take root on the island nation.

  9. lajauretsi

    Pete, you’re right about the fact that some Cubans felt Fidel didnt’ “take care of his own” BEFORE the hurricanes. At the same time, the lack of resources, organization, and “absentee landlord” leadership by the Cuban Administration after those 3 hurricanes really really got some new voices talkin down there.

    By the same token, after Katryna, there were lots of Bush devotees who woke up on Bush (in addition to those of course who didnt like him beforehand). I’m just saying the bodycount of disillusioned citizens spiked up further… a catalyst of awareness, if you will….

    About Raul, im not sayin he will be progressive and efficient, im just saying that’s his “pitch” right now. Plus the fact he is consolidating his power, and taking the reigns from Fidel is also simply a fact now. Time will tell what Raul’s actions vs his words will be… I’m as cynical as anyone about believing promises. But I do repeat…. I think its going to get really interesting in the next few months..

  10. girlontape

    hi jauretsi…found ya on lindsey’s blog 🙂 here in buenos aires some are saying chavez was in cahoots with lagos & co. to conspire against raul…what’s the word on that?

  11. It's just a web site man!

    Nothing substantial will change with Raul in power. Raul is as much or more a Marxist as his brother. The country is in trouble and he needs cash so he is doing what he can to get that cash. But the people will still be oppressed, people will still languish in jails for speaking out, and nothing will change until freedom comes to the island. I pray that it happens one day.

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