Cuba: New President Promises Continuity

22 April, 2018, 02:29 | Author: Katrina Soto
  • Visitors laugh as they attend a cinema theatre at an invitation-only screening at the King Abdullah Financial District Theater in Riyadh Saudi Arabia Wednesday

"At best, Miguel Diaz-Canel will continue to manage Cuba's transition to a capitalist economy while maintaining the performance of the free education and health care systems", said Portada, whose immediate family fled the island after Fidel Castro overthrew Gen. Fulgencio Batista in 1959.

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, the top Democrat on the House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee who also sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that the Castro regime continued its efforts to undermine democratic reforms.

His departure from the presidency is nonetheless a symbolically charged moment for a country accustomed to 60 years of absolute rule first by revolutionary leader Fidel Castro and, for the last decade, his younger brother. It was the first time Castro has laid out a clear vision for the nation's power structure after his retirement or death, a vision in which Diaz-Canel is Castro's true successor as total leader of Cuba.

Cubans said they expected their new president to deliver improvements to the island's economy, which remains stagnant and dominated by inefficient, unproductive state-run enterprises that are unable to provide salaries high enough to cover basic needs.

"In Cuba, we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date".

The relationship between Cuba and the USA further improved in 2016 when President Obama and Raúl Castro agreed to: (i) reauthorize postal service between the two countries after 53 years; (ii) regularly scheduled flights between the United States and Cuba; and (iii) allow US companies to operate in Cuba, including: Verizon, Sprint, Airbnb, Starwood Hotels, Carnival, and Netflix.

Castro allowed Cubans to travel more freely and to own cellphones and property, while expanding internet access, albeit continuing to limit public dissent.

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But in Miami, Cuban-Americans said they didn't expect much from Diaz-Canel.

Castro's moves to open the economy even further have largely been frozen or reversed as soon as they began to generate conspicuous displays of wealth by the new entrepreneurial class in a country officially dedicated to equality among its citizens.

In 2014, Castro and former US President Barack Obama reached a landmark agreement to renew diplomatic ties and improve relations between the Cold War foes, a detente that led to a rapid increase in US visits and investment on the island.

Cuba now has two currencies - one connected to the US dollar and another, less valuable, national Cuban peso. "I want the country to advance", said Susel Calzado, a 61-year-old economics professor.

"Cuban citizens had no real power to affect the outcome of this undemocratic transition process".

"Hey Raul - looks like you're the one leaving. and we're here standing with the Cuban people", Pence tweeted under hash tag "Cuba Libre". In a video leaked to the media previous year, he notably defended Cuba's academics and bloggers from criticism from the party hardliners, but also pledged to silence certain media outlets and labeled some European embassies as outposts of subversion. Global observers and Cubans alike will now be scrutinizing every move he makes.

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