Sunday, 24 February 2008

Raul Castro is a reformer

There is an old joke about liberals marching on Parliament chanting

"What do we want? Gradual Change! When do we want it? In due course!"

Well I think the decision by the Cuban Communist Party to adopt Raul Castro to replace his brother Fidel fulfils that wish. In the 16 months that he has already held the effective reins of office, Raul Castro has introduced a number of significant changes that have set Cuba on a path towards a more enlightened regime. It's not democracy and the rule of law by any means but it is a welcome start.

There are, I suspect, many people like me who hate the idea of the totalitarian regime such as the Cuban one, but also have a secret (or perhaps not so secret) admiration for the way that this tiny impoverished state has thumbed its nose at the USA for so long. We would like to see the Fidel regime replaced and the Cuban people freed, but we don't want the island to become yet another haven for US cruise ships and drug cartels.

So the prospect of a continuing gradual change is perhaps the right one. Raul may be almost as old as his brother, but he has shown a marked difference of approach and the choice of the 78 year old Machado Ventura as Vice President may not be the slap in the face for the next generation that it is perceived as being. It just may be that Raul is not yet ready to annoint a chosen successor and wants the possible candidates to show him what they are made of first. Just as in the USA, we can be sure that the current Vice President is not the one who will take the top job next.

1 comment:

Julian H said...

Vive L'Evolution.