25 February 2008

Meet the new Castro, not very different to the old Castro?

It was no big surprise that Fidel’s younger brother Raúl Castro has been named as Cuba’s President.

In his acceptance speech Raul acknowledged that Cuba faced problems and he spoke of the need for economic reform he declared that he would consult his ailing brother on all important decisions. “I accept the responsibility I have been given with the conviction I have repeated often: there is only one Commander in Chief of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel is Fidel and we all know it well.” The National Assembly, appointed hardliner José Ramón Machado Ventura as Raul’s Castro’s deputy. Moderniser Carlos Lage, 56, had been tipped for the post.

Raúl was responsible for the execution hundreds of opponents after his brother’s defeat of the Batista regime in 1959. He has a reputation for being more politically repressive than his brother. He is more pragmatic on economic matters and is said to admire China’s model of economic reform while retaining strict political control. He is also said to be an efficient manager and good delegator - “Fidel is the political brother. Raúl is the practical one,” said his niece Alina Fernández who lives in Miami.

Raul Castro inherits a run-down country which a crumbling infrastructure. How he governs in practice remains to be seen. The indications are a bit more economic liberalism but no improvement in human rights. An improvement in US-Cuban relationships is unlikely.

7 comments:

Chris in Oxford said...

The last sentence in your article is the most unfortunate bit. I wish my politically cowardly country would stop with this whole ridiculous embargo. Both parties are so afraid of the small Cuban-American contingent in south Florida that they refuse to acknowledge any sensible alternatives. Sigh...

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

I feel a bout of Roger Daltrey coming on.

The Lone Beader said...

There go my hopes for a new vacation place.

CherryPie said...

We live in interesting times!!!

jams o donnell said...

Somehow I can't see that happening right away Chris. It will happen at some stage though.

But not a rendition of Boris teh Spider though James?

Ah well, LB but the barriers will come down eventually.

Oh that we do Cherrrypie!

elasticwaistbandlady said...

How can the younger brother looked older than the older brother? This comment is totally based on a shallow, physical opinion, but Fidel must have gotten all the looks in the family. I hope he also got all the evil dictator genes in the family, too, so maybe Raul won't be such a crappy leader.

jams o donnell said...

In some respects he probably will be more pragmatic EWBL. On the otehr hand he does not seem to be a fan of political freedom and so may be even more repressive than Fidel