Light on the opening to Cuba
Light on the opening to Cuba
Fidel’s son is skeptical of hope and change under Uncle Raul
By THE WASHINGTON TIMES – – Sunday, October 25, 2015
Children, ex-wives and discarded mistresses can be the ruin, or at least the headaches, of dictators. Fidel Castro’s son, a photographer, has confirmed the fears of the critics of Barack Obama’s “opening to America” in an interview with a Chilean radio station. Alex Castro, the regime’s official photographer, went to Chile to promote his photographic books at an international book fair.
Alex accuses his Uncle Raul and his cronies, who took over from his father in 2006, of moving too slowly toward change and of cultivating corruption. Furthermore, Alex hints that he wants to defect, and would go to Miami to show his photographs if he could get a visa.
He follows seveRaul other second-generation Castro offspring and assorted camp followers in talking frankly about the old folks at home. Alex is the second son of Fidel, and has published a number of books about his father, illustrated with his photographs. He declines to answer a question about the details of the transfer of power from Fidel to Raul, beyond saying that it came about from changes that Raul made for “various reasons.” Raul was head of the military under Fidel and there are growing suspicions that Cuba may be turning for a model to the traditional Latin American military regime. There’s something in the water down there.
Alex says Uncle Raul failed to follow the example of Communist Vietnam. That is “difficult [because] there are no other [political] parties. It’s likely to be that we don’t follow the Vietnamese path in five years but take 40 to 50 years, the way we are doing things.” Many things have changed but they are being done “without submitting the population to shock treatment.”
Alex Castro is equally pessimistic about the future of foreign investment in Uncle Raul’s Cuba. He wanted to see progress in the negotiations for such investments, to the benefit of the Cuban people in “large companies.” But most of these negotiations are with the state, not with equal partners in the all-but-nonexistent private sector.
He thinks these negotiations won’t produce much. These are big companies “in trade or industry or large chains of hotels” that cannot negotiate except with similar enterprises and such enterprises do not exist in Cuba. “They don’t exist now in Cuba and they aren’t going to come about. Some people can get rich but they aren’t going to be millionaires.”
He calls elements in the current regime “hard-line and blind.” Power is wielded only by a small group, all of whom are “conservatives” who oppose fundamental change. Relations with the Vatican, for example, are better “at this moment.” He understands that instead of a war, the Roman Catholic Church and the Cuban government want to improve relations, the same as with the Americans,” but for the moment don’t go further than that.
Sebastin Arcos, deputy director of the Institute of Cuban Studies at Florida International University in Miami, says his remarks about the slow movement toward change indicate “[there are] forces even more conservative than Raul, in a highly personalized regime such as Cuba’s.”
American businessmen coming against these barriers, like their Canadian and European colleagues have done over the last seveRaul decades, will find the going slow and frustrating in Cuba. The promise of new markets and trade, for which President Obama excused a regime still jailing political opponents, isn’t likely to be redeemed. Unless, of course, the American taxpayer picks up the tab with new credits, which the bankrupt Cuban economy cannot justify. Lifting the Cuban embargo, already a shadow of what it used to be, could be the first step in that direction.
Source: EDITORIAL: Light on the opening to Cuba – Washington Times – http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/oct/25/editorial-light-on-the-opening-to-cuba/Tags: Chile, economy, embargo, Fidel Castro, investment, president, university, Vietnam