What is Cuba Going to Celebrate This 26th of July?

Raúl Castro embraces his successor on the July 26, 2019. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 22 July 2021 — For many years, Fidel Castro’s speeches at the events of July 26, the anniversary of the attack on the Moncada barracks, became a source of speculation for the “fidelologists.” Everyone wanted to predict what would be the presumed tiller of the Commander-in-Chief, both in international politics and in domestic affairs.

On the 26th of July 1989, the “maximum leader” predicted the end of the Soviet Union and in 1993 he announced the dollarization of the economy, or to put it more closely to the discourse, the decriminalization of the possession of dollars. Years passed and on July 26, 2007, in the former cattle province of Camagüey, Raúl Castro proclaimed that every Cuban had the right to have, at least, a glass of milk for breakfast.

These are the reasons why Cubans now await, with some expectation, what President-designate Miguel Díaz-Canel will say on such an important date, especially after the July 11 protests and their aftermath of arrests.

There are two aspects in the forecasts: the opening and the closing.

When one speaks of “opening,” one can suppose the announcement of measures at the economic level, such as the definitive burial of that State entity called Acopio, allowing agricultural producers to decide what to produce and at what prices to sell. Or another thing, to finally start up the many-times-announced small and medium-sized companies (SMEs). If it were more demanding or more optimistic, it could be expected that private companies would be allowed to import for commercial purposes and that professionals could practice their specialties working as self-employed.

Politically, the least that could be expected, which deserves to be classified as open-minded, would be the immediate and unconditional release of all those detained during the protests, either through the recourse of a pardon, an amnesty or a release from prison. Apologies for the repression should not be expected, but rather acts of greatness based on “revolutionary generosity.”

When talking how the speech might close, it is easier to imagine. It will suffice to repeat the old slogans: “No one surrenders here” and that we cannot trust the imperialism [the United States] not ’one little bit,” and that we must “rigorously apply revolutionary justice against the enemies paid by the empire.”

What they cannot do is act or speak as if nothing had happened. That is why it is worth speculating about what they will say on July 26, and even wondering about the selection of the location for the central ceremony, which is traditionally chosen to reward compliant provinces, will take into account the detail of where there were fewer protests, or if they will reward those who were more combative against those who protested.


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