Despite Raul Castro retirement announcement, no changes ahead for Cuba
Before you call for an end to the embargo or shout that a new day has arrived in Cuba, please sit back and remember this about the new "change" on the island:
1) Raul Castro was "reelected" for another 5-year term;
2) His successor was picked by Raul Castro. We don't know much about Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel- Bermudez. All we know is that he has been a provincial bureaucrat, loyal to Raul Castro, a Beatles fan and could pass for Jose Canseco's older brother;
3) No opposition party was allowed to put up a candidate. This is because the Cuban regime does not recognize the opposition. Everybody in Cuba is a communist and dissent results in prison. Someone needs to tell Western reporters that especially the next time that they interview so many "happy Cubans" on the island.
Is that an election? I don't think so.
Why did Raul Castro decide to retire?
Nobody really knows but here are my "guesses":
1) Raul is in his 80s. I'm sure that he'd rather spend the rest of his life with the family millions in an isolated farm. My guess is that Raul does not want to be around the day that they turn out the lights on the regime.
2) Cuba's problems are beyond repair. There is no "socialista" answer to the island's economic mess.
3) Raul knows something that most of the Western media does not. Raul knows that communism is not popular in Cuba, specially with the young people who want freedom. There is tremendous dissatisfaction with the Castro regime. As a young person told me, "there is more to life than free health care"!
4) Raul wants to "fool" the US into ending the embargo. Cuba desperately needs "credit" because it is no longer getting it from other countries.
Who would have believed this 50 years ago? Cuba desperately needs US credit lines to save the anti-US revolution.
President Obama should react to the changes in Cuba with a simple statement: "Nice try Raul but call me when you hold free elections and we will consider lifting the embargo."
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