Is Diaz-Canel the Third Power in Cuba? / Orlando Freire Santana

Díaz-Canel-en-la-Cumbre-de-Petrocaribe-300x225HAVANA, Cuba, November, -In closed societies, where there is no freedom of information, it’s necessary to read between the lines to break the secrecy imposed from above. Secrecy that, among other things, makes it impossible to know the real share of power of each leader.

When the naming of Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez was named first vice president of the Council of States and Ministers was reported, there was no lack of voices, in Cuba and abroad, who claimed to be in the presence of the second-in-line of the Cuban regime.

Soon they became convinced it wasn’t so. Because Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, in his position as second secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, remained Raul Castro’s shadow.

Diaz-Canel appeared to be the third man in the power structure.

In recent days, however, we’ve observed an event that could tell us the true location of Diaz-Canel in the Castro nomenklatura. It was the hosting of the vice president of India by the General-President, reported by the newspaper Granma on October 31.

Both in the official notice as well is in the photo of the meeting, with the delegations of both countries, Cuban protocol was in charge of strictly locating the personalities in accordance with their political hierarchy.

Next to Raúl Castro was Esteban Lazo, member of the Party’s Politburo and president of the National Assembly of People’s Power; next to him was Díaz-Canel, followed by Rodrigo Malmierca, Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment; and finally, Marcelino Medina, Deputy Foreign Minister.

That is, Mr. Lazo currently has a position senior to Diaz-Canel in the nomenklatura. He is second to Raul in the Government and the Council of State, but his location in the office of the Party’s Politburo — which defines his share of power — seems to be very powerful.

It’s even probably that prominent figures in the Party, like the Minister of the Interior Abelardo Colomé Ibarra (Furry), and the also vice president Ramiro Valdés, and Minister of the Armed Forces, Leopoldo Cintra Frías, are also ahead of Díaz-Canel.

We have to interpret the small details to decipher the secretiveness of the Castrocracia. An element that could shed light on: General Furry is the only one authorized to accompany Machado to the airport when Raul Castro returns from a trip abroad.

Then the ascent of Diaz-Canel to the first vice presidency of the Councils of State and Minister, as well as the media attention he has received lately, far from a climb to the summit of power, would just be the recurring “killing two birds with one stone.”

In these terms, it’s necessary to give the impression that something is moving in the island’s stagnant political landscape, in this case through some “renewal” in the nomenklatura.

On the other hand, Castro II is preparing for the moment of relay, in fact, when other figures assume the reins of power. But for them that moment will come when the historic generation of the Revolution disappears physically. Before then, don’t even think about it.

Orlando Freire Santana

6 November 2013, Cubanet