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Friday, April 20, 2018

Lights and shadows on Diaz–Canel

Por qubano22005

I never imagined living such a historic moment. Since I was a little boy I saw the image of Fidel Castro in the presidency and I thought that he would last forever. Although, of course, the leader of the Cuban Revolution was not going to be eternal, for some reason the youngest generations never thought he was going to give up to the presidency. However, what seemed like a utopia, happened unexpectedly. The old wolf changed the baton, but to another hand, his brother’s Raul. Critics and facts revealed what most Cubans believed and thought the country was a monarchy.

Raúl assumed the disaster left by Fidel, a senile man in the last years of his life whose utopias were not fulfilled as a young man and tried to carry out several social programs and battles against "imperialism" as the so-called "battle of ideas" where the national economy was constantly affected. None of the members close to his circle of power said anything. They rather kept quiet while they took over the public treasury and gave themselves the luxuries of princes.

The youngest Castro’s boys, Raúl, took the responsibility with the bravery that characterized him in the Sierra. The figure of his brother was still present and part of his clique of armed struggle as well. But Raul defenestrated little by little those "young people" in whom his brother trusted. He got rid in less than a year of all the opportunistic scourges that were the real worms of the Revolution.

There they began their transformations. He tried to restructure the economy and "band-aided" whatever deep financial wound his brother left. Unlike the previous dictator, he divided, at least in appearance, the power. He surrounded himself with advisors in the areas that he did not dominate, unlike Fidel, absolute monarch who listened to very few, the living reincarnation of Louis XIV.

In spite of the contradictions with his brother, he initiated the process of transformation of Cuban Socialism, by one more "prosperous and sustainable" one, a euphemism so he would not had to face the truth that initiated capitalist changes. Raúl was aware that maintaining the social system required money and income and so far, Communism is still an economic beggar.

Now after more than eight years of administration, he hands over command to Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez. The opposition and Miami rabid dogs like Marco Rubio consider it a unilateral transfer of power. But have they asked themselves: Is there anyone more capable in Cuba? If the answer for the opponents is someone from their ranks, it is an illusion like so many others. No one of the Cuban opponents has the intellectual or moral capacity to stand as a candidate; none of them are known or a leader. Cuba made it clear in '59 that they did not want lackeys from the United States and so far they haven’t proved the contrary, it would be to go back in time.

A completely different issue is that the leaders of the party and of the People’s Power that could be candidates. However, nobody has the trajectory of Diaz -Canel. Few have escalated all the directive seats of the Island as Canel has done and, except from the first Secretary of Santiago de Cuba, Lázaro Expósito, they have popularity and leadership capacity, something well won by Diaz-Canel.

The new president of Cuba has a more open and carefree vision. In recent times he has been advised and trained by Raúl Castro and has also been seen on international stages as part of the transition that was to come.

Personally, I know that he is a humble person. He had heard by friends of his years in Villa Clara province when he wore shorts and rode a bike. My first encounter with him was during an exhibition at ExpoCuba Center. At that time he attended as Minister of Higher Education. I had nowhere to sit and coincidentally, he invited me to sit next to him and another Cuban scientist Jorge Nuñez Jover. I remember Nuñez Jover told him that I had made a proposal to extend the Social Studies of Science and Technology to communicators. Miguel Díaz-Canel listened attentively to my dissertation. He did not say anything. After, Jorge Núñez congratulated me in his apartment because the minister had loved the idea.

After a while, I went to work to another Cuban institution, dedicated precisely to technology. Again and again the First Vice President was always concerned about our proposals focused on education. In all the meetings he eagerly asked us. Then I understood that the electronic engineer, more than a politician, was also a man of science and like Fidel, he saw in technology and research the future of a nation with few natural resources. Not in vain, the computer sciences in Cuba are acquiring new airs and impulses. In fact, I remember that in 2015 a group of Cubans traveled to Brazil to represent Cuba in the Internet Governance Forum almost without resources, only the few offered by our ministry. It was the first time that a Cuban delegation attended. We were a little annoyed because the Ministry of Communications did not provide us with the necessary financial help. Thanks to personal friends and through the solidarity committee we had where to stay in Brazil. The now president heard about us and how we defended ourselves against the attacks of the enemies of the Revolution. When we returned to Cuba, he pulled some strings and now those who access the IGF have state support.

Contrary to what Marcos Rubio thinks, I believe that Miguel Díaz -Canel will try to apply the reforms he left on Raúl Castro’s bureau. However, let us remain realistic, he is a very cautious person and does not like to generate false expectations. On one occasion he even told a group of journalists that there were details of US-Cuba relations that still could not be revealed. However, he is a person who listens and advises the members of his team, experts in other areas. The election of the Army General is not casuistic, the ex-president himself has said that the current president possesses "solid ideological firmness", as well as his "high sense of collective work and of exigency with subordinates".

Several will be the challenges that the current president will have to overcome. Corruption, economy, trade balance, external debt, opposition and the United States are some of them, without mentioning the natural disasters that affect the country so frequently. In addition, he will have to consolidate the ideology and the formation of the new generations, every time less trusting on the socialist model. In a scenario where Cuba is more cornered with the loss of the left bastions: Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and the economic fall of Venezuela. Diaz -Canel, who at 58 years of age will arrive as the ruler of the Communist Island, must lead the country in these unprecedented circumstances. According to Carlos Alzugaray, many will be his challenges, because if "to Fidel everything was forgiven, to Raúl almost everything, he will not be forgiven so much".