Vicente Morin Aguado
HAVANA TIMES — According to the comments you hear out on the street, a good share of Cubans, the majority in my understanding, are superficially repeating that current leader Raul Castro “will leave the seat of power next year.” This phrase omits details from the current Constitution in force, intentionally left out by the government’s political propaganda.
Leaving the role of President of the Councils of State and Ministries doesn’t mean leaving power in Cuba; this is because the vast majority of the population has lost interest in politics and are acting like zombies, tormented by the daily struggle to survive. People don’t pay attention to the constitutional articles that govern their fate.
Article No.5 of the Cuban constitution, a real outrage and essentially copied from the now-disappeared Soviet communist system, states:
“The Communist Party of Cuba, a follower of Martí’s ideas and of Marxism-Leninism, and the organized vanguard of the Cuban nation, is the highest leading force of society and of the state, which organizes and guides the common effort toward the goals of building socialism and progressing towards a communist society.”
This controversial article establishes that it is the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) who actually rules the country. Up until today, the current leader has still not said anything about giving up his main position, First Secretary of the PCC, and so it can be argued that he will continue at the helm of power.
His strategy seems to be to delegate tasks, which were concentrated in one person up until now, including to the second in command of the state-party dichotomy, Jose Ramon Machado Ventura. Raul Castro is 86 years old, Machado Ventura is 87. There is a popular saying that says that at this age the only thing they should be doing is sitting in rocking chairs.
Well-dressed and much younger figures will take on executive duties, among whom Miguel Diaz Canel, 57, stands out. The grandfathers aren’t up for so much hustle and bustle, but they aren’t renouncing a power that they call “historic” in Cuba, because in the words of many Cubans, “they fired the shots and earned it by overthrowing the dictator Batista.”
The often repeated decision to leave power is just another way of saying, changing some things so as to not really change anything. They aren’t even reaching the example the government has announced so many times in our country, the success of Chinese communism. In the Asian giant, at least every ten years, when leaders are replaced, the First Secretary of the Communist Party is the first one to go.
Vicente Morin Aguado: email@example.com