Cuba: Two Ministers Finally Dismissed

Ministers can come and go and life changes little for everyday Cubans. Havana photo be Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES – It may seem like I was waiting for this, but that’s not the case. Not because they didn’t deserve it (they had more than enough reasons to be dismissed long ago), but because I truly believe it’s not the solution.

The most visible face is Alejandro Gil, Minister of Economy and Planning of Cuba, but it also included the Ministers of Science, Technology and Environment, and of the Food Industry, in addition to the presidency of the Central Bank.

Let’s remember that at the end of last year, both the regular meetings of the Communist Party of Cuba and the accountability assemblies of the neighborhood delegates were suspended, seen as a sign of fear of what the population might say with a microphone nearby.

They have also just frozen a series of economic measures that were planned, including the increase in gasoline prices. Everything seems to indicate that our dear Miguel Díaz-Canel has lost his way and doesn’t know what to do with the disaster he has on his hands.

As usual, the dismissed were thanked for their work, and equally unknown and probably incompetent replacements were appointed, who will surely remain in office just like their predecessors, regardless of their effectiveness. Because everyone knows it wasn’t due to incapacity (that was evident a long time ago) but to do something about the widespread dissatisfaction.

Besides this, a halt in remittances is mentioned, which is not only a support for a significant percentage of Cuban families but also for the regime itself.

These kinds of changes cannot solve the main problem of the Cuban economy, which is the laws that hinder private initiative (the much-talked-about small and medium-sized enterprises represent less than 10 percent of their true potential) and reflect the total lack of productivity in practically all sectors.

The power of the Revolution has never been so weak for various reasons, but mainly because it cannot control the popular unrest caused by widespread inefficiency. This is true even though they implemented the strategy of letting most dissatisfied people leave the country or imprisoned hundreds after the historic protests of July 11, 2021.

The issue is that, initially, those who leave are the ones with money, and later they forget that discomfort arises daily. In addition to those dissatisfied who didn’t have the resources to leave earlier, others join in when they see that things are not progressing in any direction. In such an unsustainable situation, it is difficult to predict what might happen.

The political power sustained by the Ministry of the Interior and the Armed Forces, plus the State Security, cannot convince even those who keep it in power because, in the long run, they know they are pawns in the repressive apparatus. This was the case with Gil and the Food Industry minister, Manuel Sobrino Martinez, famous for his repeated absurdities on the Mesa Redonda (roundtable) TV show.

Regarding the military, it is true that the top brass have offshore accounts and properties in the names of frontmen, with their children living abroad and enjoying unlimited power on the island, even above Diaz-Canel himself. However, the rest of the military receive mere scraps: some price privileges for products and moderately decent vacations.

Nevertheless, they experience the same power outages as the rest of the population, with their children attending the same schools as others, having to pay for snacks for them at the same elevated prices as others with equally depressed salaries, and being treated in the same resource-deprived hospitals with demotivated personnel.

Current movements are labeled as “renewal” according to the Official Gazette, but if that’s so good, why not renew Diaz-Canel, whose performance is equally disastrous? The press notes are almost a copy of the previous ones when Gil and Sobrino were appointed to their positions due to their “merits,” both labor and political, adorned with master’s and doctoral degrees in their fields, proudly announced on the National Television News.

The pattern repeats itself, and that doesn’t mean anything will change; the garbage will continue in the streets, the hard daily bread rolls, and the lack of freedoms will persist the same way. It’s just a change of names.

We still have young leaders craving power, hoping to be given a position, but whether they are bootlickers or moderately intelligent with a few ideas of their own, they all end up on the same path. Lately, as soon as they assume their positions, they start thinking about the moment they will be removed and, if they are smart, prepare for their retirement, send their children on scholarships to other countries, and try to have their private businesses.

The privileges they had are lost automatically, and that’s when they start experiencing the wonderful country they talked so much about. They come out of the bubble they lived in, stand in line, as I have personally seen a former Minister of Commerce do, and live on their meager salary.

Leaving the clan, because that is ultimately the political nomenclature, means misfortune because unlike a minister in any other country who assumes the position temporarily but has his businesses and personal prestige, here, they arrive as part of a cadre policy where meritocracy is based on obedience.

The circus continues, and although unfortunately, thousands of Cubans, especially the elderly, still believe what the news says and think this is a significant change, more and more are accessing social networks and exchanging information.

“Our people don’t get confused so easily,” Gil said in one of his last public appearances, where he reiterated that most of the people understood that what the Government does is necessary. Well, now it was necessary to remove him from his position, despite the popular support he claimed to have.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times.

3 thoughts on “Cuba: Two Ministers Finally Dismissed

  • Yes. Changing a few ministers is not the solution. The govt must go, have a free economy, and honor the will of the people. Talented people are leaving Cuba. Things will get worse whether or not they raise the price of gasoline.

  • If and when another protest is done, it must include every Cuban citizen, young and old.. with no violence .. silent protest. with signs that the world can witness what is happening. Then what will Miguel do, put every single one in jail leaving no one left to work .

  • What’s needed is for the whole regime to be dismissed; it has never has worked and stays in power by terror and intimidation.

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