Communism is not working at all – why is the communists in South Africa so quiet about this? That brings corruption, poverty – no farmers and no food. It is also now back to private ownerships. That was in April 2018 – The departure of Raul Castro as president of Cuba will mark the first time in sixty years that the country will not be ruled by someone with the surname Castro. While Raul carried out some incremental reforms, the legacy of Raul and his brother Fidel is one of a long-repressed, economically stunted nation, says Christopher Sabatini, lecturer of international relations at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and executive director of Global Americans. BUT George Soros is also involved here – more about that.
SOROS AND HIS OPEN SOCIETY – COMMUNIST
Cuba, Colombia, EU – George Soros (OSF)
Though Castroism is expected to continue under apparent successor First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, he represents generational change and is likely to have more contact with Cubans as well as foreign leaders, says Sabatini.
Under the Castros—Fidel and Raul – Cuba was still a dictatorship. It’s been a totalitarian state since 1959. There are no democratic elections. Cubans are not allowed to congregate freely and are limited in their freedom of expression and access to information.
There’s only one official newspaper run by the Communist Party, and it consists almost entirely of propaganda to support the party and its policies. The result is that Cubans have become atomized.
Raul will be seen as a continuation of the Fidel Castro government; with Fidel or Raul having governed since 1959, it’s clearly a family affair. But his time in power will also be remembered as one of marginal, incremental reforms.
When Raul took power, he said that the Cuban economy was a failure—something you never would have heard the infamously obstreperous Fidel say. Raul implemented a series of reforms intended to create market incentives in the Cuban economy: he allowed some measures of private enterprise, rewrote the laws for investment, welcomed Brazilian investment in the Mariel Port, and even allowed some forms of private farming to address national food shortages. His saying was: “Without pause, but without haste.” In other words, he would move the country forward but at his own pace.
Explain how the upcoming selection of new leaders will work?
It’s a parliamentary style system. The first round of elections was held in October, when delegates were elected to local councils. Local delegates, together with some national figures and associations such as the ruling Communist Party, then selected provincial delegates from their own ranks. From these were chosen delegates to the National Assembly. All that is left is for the National Assembly to select a Committee of Candidates, from which the next president, the first and second vice presidents, and the Council of State—the group of politicians who meet weekly to review national policy orientation and implementation—will be chosen come April 19.
But the process isn’t democratic. Only members of the Communist Party are allowed to run. People are only voting from an official, pre-approved slate of candidates. There’s choice, but only within the system. And during the first round of elections at the level of local council, voting was held in the open, with no secret ballot process.
Cuba is set to turn the page on decades of communism, after lawmakers approved a rewrite of its 42-year-old constitution that would fundamentally reshape the island’s government, society and economy. But although the document removes a national goal to build a “communist society,” the party will still be in charge:
For the first time since the Cold War, Cubans will be able to own private property, strengthening a fledgling private-sector economy that now employs 12% of the workforce. The country will bring in age and term limits for Presidents and create a Prime Minister role, ensuring that future leaders will not enjoy the level of personal power that the late Fidel Castro and his brother Raúl exercised for 59 years, until Raúl installed successor Miguel Díaz-Canel in April. Social changes are also on the way, with same-sex marriage likely to be legally recognized.
Díaz-Canel says a planned public consultation and vote on the constitution show that Cuba is now a “genuine democracy.” But one-party rule remains, and most ministers from the Castro days are staying on. Entrepreneurs say the government’s progressive tone contrasts with its actions; in July it announced tighter restrictions on businesses after a yearlong freeze on new licenses. Chilly U.S.-Cuba relations will further temper foreign investment.
Cuba is trying to adapt to a world very different from the one in which the 1976 constitution was written.
The Soviet Union is long gone, and in ideological fellow traveler Venezuela, authoritarian socialism has collapsed into humanitarian crisis.
Cuba’s weak economic growth has not been enough to compensate the loss of its former benefactors and it has been forced to cut energy use and imports, making reforms more urgent. But leaders insist that they are “not renouncing [their] ideas,” aiming for an incremental transition to a “prosperous” socialism rather than full-blown capitalism. Cuba is changing, but the party will set the pace.