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A Change Of Guard…

A change is on the cards in the leadership of the Communist Government in Cuba after an era lasting slightly more than six decades! No one from the Castro Family will be at the top of the ruling Communist Party. However, there is no possibility of a real political change in the northern Caribbean nation. Experts believe that change has begun to take place in Cuba rather slowly because of the pressure of younger generation.

Cuba has been led by Fidel Castro (August 13, 1926 – November 25, 2016), the Father of the Cuban Revolution (July 26, 1953 – January 1, 1959), and later by his brother Raúl Castro for the last 60 years. On April 17, 2021, Raúl handed over the post of First Secretary of the Communist Party to Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel during the Communist Party Congress in Havana. With this, control of the Party went to a member of the younger generation, thus, ending an Era in Cuban Politics!

Literally, President Diaz-Canel is the next generation leader, having been born in Santa Clara on April 20, 1960, a decade later after the Cuban Revolution led by Castro in the 1950s. Both Fidel and Raúl have always liked to be in military attire. However, President Diaz-Canel does not maintain close ties with the Armed Forces. The President, a fan of Beatles songs and modern technology, is a modern leader.

Fidel and Raúl Castro

According to experts, the change in guard in Party Leadership is unlikely to change the Cuban political system. The Real Power shall be in the hands of the Communist Party. Former Cuban Diplomat Dr Carlos Alzugaray Treto and Political Analyst Norman McKay stressed: “Castros are not at the top does not mean that the Communist Party’s working style will change. The 2019 Constitution clearly states that Cuba’s faith in Socialism will not change.

Meanwhile, the Cuban people are more concerned about the financial crisis than the change of guard in the top political leadership. Currently, the Island Nation is facing the biggest financial crisis of three decades. The Cubans are worried about rising prices, food shortages, shortage of basic necessities and lack of Freedom.

President Miguel Díaz-Canel

The Castros have been there through decades of tense standoffs with the US Presidents from Dwight David Eisenhower and John F Kennedy to Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Raúl, considered the more reform-minded of the brothers who overthrew the US-backed Dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista in 1959, plans to leave, having set in motion an important period of political and economic change, albeit one that never went far enough for most Cubans, and has failed to prevent the Caribbean Island Nation of 11 million from plunging into what is now its most brutal economic crisis, since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Experts are of the opinion that a number of wrong steps by the Government of Cuba in Fiscal Reform have triggered the current financial crisis. Former US President Donald Trump also created troubles for Cuba by imposing fresh economic sanctions on the neighbouring country. Furthermore, the decrease in the number of foreign tourists due to the COVID-19 Pandemic has hit the Cuban economy hard. The Communist country experienced an 11% decline in economic growth in 2020. Since 1993, Cuba has suffered such a huge economic crisis.

Many believe that the Government of Cuba is gradually being forced to make some changes under the pressure of the younger generation. Hence, a change in leadership should not be considered as a total change in the existing Political System. In February 2021, Havana opened its door to private sectors. The Diaz-Canel Administration recently held talks with activists to discuss Freedom of Speech.

Mobile and Internet have made it easier for protesters to keep in constant touch with one another. The Communist Party of Cuba has officially declared that attempts of Ideological and Political sabotage would be tackled through Internet. This sort of announcement has hinted that the top political leadership in Cuba may not yet be ready to change the base, as well as the superstructure, of the State.

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