Continuity in Cuba Will Continue

The first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and former president Raúl Castro raises the arm of Miguel Díaz-Canel after his appointment in 2018. (EFE/Alexandre Meneghini)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 14 April 2023 – “If they remove the one who is there, who are they going to put in?”

In these terms of interchangeability, as if talking about a spare machine part, many people consulted by 14ymedio venture to discuss whether Miguel Díaz-Canel — will be re-elected on April 19 – or, more accurately, re-appointed — to occupy the position of President of the Republic.

When asked if this is what is most likely to happen, most of those consulted agree that it is, that repetition seems inevitable. But nuances arise when the question is raised regarding whether it is convenient for the interests of the dictatorship.

On the one hand, it is argued that “up there” they must be aware of the degree of discontent that the population has with the management results of the current occupant of the job, even though the majority of the dissatisfied have the perception that he is not the one who decides the measures but rather the one who meekly executes them.

To put in another person could open the hope of substantial changes, but for that the new figure would have to refrain from pronouncing the word ’continuity’, which has been due north in the compass of the job’s current occupant. In any case, the designation of a new character would not be to make changes, but to buy time.

On the other hand, there is a perception that removing Díaz-Canel would be an acknowledgment of the resounding failure of his administration and, therefore, of the decision of Raúl Castro, who was ultimately the one who put him in office. Díaz-Canel’s success is summed up in having opted for continuity. He has gotten on well with Raúl, although he has gotten on badly with the population. And if Raúl Castro continues to be the voice that calls the shots in Cuba at this level of decision-making, Miguel Díaz-Canel will begin his second presidential term, despite everything.

If Díaz-Canel falls, it is said, it could be a sign that Raúl Castro is no longer the one who decides or that, despite his 91 years, he has the capacity to realize that the ’baby of the family’ has not managed to achieve the prosperous and sustainable socialism that he promised when he was left in charge of the ship.

But the most disturbing question remains: if they remove the one who is there, who are they going to put in his place? According to the constitution, the person must be a deputy and under 60 years of age. The list is short and putting in an unknown person would show even more that we live in a country where citizens find out who is going to be their president without first having known who the candidates were.

In these so-called elections there will be no winners. We will all be defeated.


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