March 17, 2021


New era beckons for Cuba, without a Castro in power (Carlos Batista, 3/17/21, AFP)

Sixty-year-old Diaz-Canel, like many other members of the party's new decision-making politbureau, was born after the Cuban revolution led by Fidel Castro, who died in 2016.

And the new executive team "will have the task of building its own legitimacy, which could come from a political project that brings economic prosperity and social justice to Cuba," said Michael Shifter of the Inter-American Dialogue think tank in Washington DC.

There have already been some cautious shifts.

In recent months, artists and intellectuals earned themselves an audience with the government, rather than arrest, after several protests -- a rarity on the strictly-controlled communist island -- to demand free expression.

Animal rights activists, too, have made their voices heard with the first-ever non-political demonstration authorized by the state, culminating in the country's first animal protection laws.

The new executive will have to introduce further cautious political reform "to effectively manage the tensions in society" -- between the old guard and a new generation better connected to the rest of the world, said Shifter.

The arrival of internet on mobile phones at the end of 2018 has made for a societal paradigm shift, with never-before-seen access to information previously controlled by the state media, and new forums for expression, even organizing demonstrations.

The party has said next month's congress would have to reflect on how to better deal with "political-ideological subversion" on social media.

The country's direction will also largely be shaped by Cuba's relationship with the United States.

President Joe Biden had promised during his election campaign to reverse certain sanctions toughened under his predecessor Donald Trump.

But Cuba would have to give something back in the form of human rights reforms.

...just lift every sanction and allow the free movement of goods and people on our end.  

Posted by at March 17, 2021 7:14 AM