Next year will be a decisive one for Cuba. Raul Castro, the brother of the leader Maximo Fidel Castro, has announced his plans to step down as leader of the communist island at the end of his second-five term in February 2018, when Cuba will face the National Elections.
Castro called for a municipal election on October 22, the first step in the process toward the election of a new leader and the first vote held on the island since the death of his oldest brother Fidel who ruled Cuba for 47 years and died in November 2016. The process now has to be rescheduled due to the impact Hurricane Irma had on the island, because of the damages caused by heavy rains and winds. The provinces hit by the hurricane had been 14 in 16 and the devastation has affected not only the infrastructures and the houses but also both the agricultural and economic sector of the island, plus the energetic one. There is, then, a need in re-establish order and secure the country.
For instance, the primary elections – first step for the election of a new leader – have been rescheduled for November 26th when the districts’ delegates (Concejales) will be called to vote. Those delegates, elected every two years, constitute the municipal government and proposed among them the 50% of the candidates for the provincial assembly and for the National Congress. What needs to be kept in mind, is that Cuba has a unique political system and the 2018 elections might open a new political scenario in the country’s history. There is no chance that there will be free and fair elections soon, and hearsay suggests that the chosen one candidate had been “trained” by the Raulistas and that there will be no transition in power. The main concern is that Raul will keep run the country behind the scene and that the new generation in power will have no effective power in the country’s decisions. As a matter of fact, in Cuba, the president is elected by the National Assembly, and Castro has tipped Diaz-Canel as his successor.
At 56 years old, Diaz Canel had been described as loyal, flexible and intelligent and at his age, he currently represents a new generation of politician. He was born after the Revolution that brought Fidel to power and for over 30 years he has worked his way up through the PCC. He was Minister of Higher Education from 2009 to 2012, and in 2013 Raul Castro named him Vice President of the Council of State of Cuba, establishing him as next in line for the country’s leadership. Diaz-Canel has maintained a low profile and avoided taking stances on key issues, making it unclear what policy changes he would enact if he became President. Moreover, his succession is not entirely confirmed, and many believe that by keeping his head down he is trying to avoid the fate of previous successors who fell from grace after becoming too prominent. The only issue for which he has publicly advocated is increased internet access for the island and the modernization of the state-run media.
What is certain, is that with the 2018 election a new generation of politicians will take place and the ancient member of the regime will go towards the so-called biological solution, because most of them are aged between 80 and 90 years old. Cuba is a country that needs hope and freedom, and this is a salient moment for the country where the government needs to pick up another path.
A cura di: Stefania Facco