The Unexplained Absence of Raul Castro

The last time Raúl Castro was seen at an official event was in late February. (Granma)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 20 March 2020 –Although no one from the official media has explained the reasons why General Raúl Castro fails to fulfill his obligation to place himself at the forefront of the situation generated by the presence of the coronavirus on the Island, only two possible responses can be ventured: he cannot or he does not want to .

If he cannot, it could be for two other reasons: either he is incapacitated (physically or mentally) or the task he is engaged in is so urgent that he cannot now be distracted by the issue of the pandemic.

If the issue is that he does not want to, it could be because he is not intimately convinced of what the President of the Republic and the Council of Ministers are doing, or because he is having the generosity to give prominence to his replacement.

The Constitution approved a year ago establishes in Article 5 the status of the Communist Party as the “superior leading political force of society and the State.” In compliance with this precept, considered fundamental and inviolable, the organization’s first secretary — i.e. Raul Castro — would have to be leading the policy to address this epidemiological storm that attracts the attention of all the ministries and the concern of all citizens.

The understandable lack of consensus to approving the measures put into practice by the Government, especially regarding the closure of borders and the suspension of school and work activities, requires solid leadership, not only capable of making good decisions, but to ensure that they are accepted by the population.

In a crisis situation, or on the threshold of such a situation, citizens’ mistrust of the measures taken by the authorities is a risk factor with unforeseeable consequences. The absence of the person with the highest political authority in the country fuels that mistrust.

If the membership of the Communist Party came to believe that something was cooking behind Raúl Castro’s back, civil disobedience could spill beyond the limits where the opponents, or simply the non-conformists, have the successful habit of protest.

The former tendency for people believe that something “is happening because Fidel does not know about it” is transferred today to Raúl Castro, especially among the 20% of the Cuban population that is elderly and at the highest risk of dying, which is also the portion of the population with the greatest inclination to support the process.

Is Raúl Castro unable or does he not want to take the lead in this crucial “battle”?

If he can not, someone is obliged to explain it as soon as possible and not only to the militants but to the citizens, who by virtue of the aforementioned Article 5 are in a situation of legal subordination to the Communist Party.

If he does not want to, then it is up to him to explain why, with total clarity.


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