Castro’s Moves: A Light, Tenuous, at the End of the Tunnel / Juan Juan Almeida

diaz-canelA February 24th with young talent, a breath of fresh air. Yesterday Cuba’s National Assembly of People’s Power ended its session, a session where new appointments were made: Homero Acosta as secretary of the Council of State; Gladys Bejerano as vice president of the Council; José Ramón Machado Ventura as controller general; Ramiro Valdés Menéndez; Lázara Mercedes López (first secretary of the Communist Party in Havana); and Salvador Valdés (general secretary of the Workers Union).

Ratified as members of this body were Inés María Chapman, Leopoldo Cintra, Abelardo Colomé, Guillermo García, Tania León, Álvaro López, Marino Murillo and Sergio Rodríguez.
They changed the facade, the membership of the Council of State now has 17 new members, something like reshuffling the deck. But I won’t dwell on them because the important thing is the investiture of “Compañero” Diaz-Canel as First Vice-president of Cuba, someone who many envision as the “promise of renewal and mutation.”

I want to share with you that Diaz-Canel, Miguel, or Miguelito–as he’s called in the closed circles which, to no one’s surprise, reelected the President of Cuba–has become the “number two” of the Revolutionary government not exactly for practicing the so-called hard line.

The unhealthy-looking fifty-something, recently named First Vice-president, is known as a prudent man; in public he speaks very little and smiles as necessary, knowing very well that in Cuba to shine is a sin.

An engineer by profession, he served in the armed forces, was a university professor and minister of education. Developed within the ranks of the Communist Party, he had a meteoric rise, for his notable intelligence. Those who know and belong to his circle of friends comment that he is inexpressive in matters of emotion, remains unperturbed facing a fire, a dolls funeral, or an open drawer. That is, he has the gift of ubiquity, being in the right place at the right time.

By way of gossip, mutual friends have told me that he like baseball, garlic fries, and from time to time, sotto voice conspiring against the government and, although he was “on the pajama plan”–that is temporarily ousted–for a mistake he made, he managed to vindicate himself after some self-flagellation, a sort of pathetic dramatization of Christ’s suffering, and his loyalty to power should not be taken as synonymous with dishonesty.

I think it’s too early to point to him as the future of Cuba strongman, I doubt that this appointment is the master key that can open the door of impregnable castle of the Knights Templar. That power, in our archipelago, for now remains invisible.

For me, the most meticulous and relevant of all this paraphernalia, closing the constituent session of the National Assembly of People’s Power of Cuba and the State Council, was that General Raul Castro spoke to legitimize his retirement and the death of Fidel. A light, tenuous, at the end of the tunnel.

February 27 2013