April 19th, 2011
Cuba seems on its way to a different kind of revolution as Castros’ party had its first congress in 14 years on April 19th 2011. The meeting translated into a blizzard of changes including the paving of way toward more private enterprise, and was especially historical as someone other than the Castro brothers was named to fill the second-highest position in the Communist Party. This could very well set the stage for their eventual successor.
At the congress, Mr. Castro, who rarely makes public appearances, also acknowledged that their party had failed to bridge the generational gap and that it had lagged in empowering younger leaders. He also noted that this meant that there was a failure to prepare ‘a reserve of substitutes with the sufficient maturity and experience to take over the principal duties of the country.’
Given the past record of the Castro brothers, marked by authoritarian tendencies in the dictatorship, human rights violations and financial crisis, not to mention the ‘bad PR’ of the regime, such statements promising reform must be taken with a grain of salt. As cynical as it is, in my opinion, Castro wanting to introduce young people to the government is probably only a way to temporarily quell any dissatisfaction the youth must be feeling toward the government. For instance, while President Castro had hinted that he might a select young up and-comer to guide a post-Castro era, he selected a party stalwart, Jose Ramon Machado who is 80 years old. The number of people nominated for the future was only limited to a few.