4

The Castro Regime Finally Has an Expiration Date: 2018

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

Time to queue up the Calle Ocho parades, roll out the gigantic Cuban flags for the mass rally at Marlins Park, and get some security guards in front of Versailles ASAP before the revelers get all hopped up on coladas: The Castro regime officially has an end date. ¡Felicidades!

OK, as with all things Castro, there's a Fidel-sized catch in the good news. Raúl Castro will still run the country for another five years. Miami's old-timers will have to hang on until 2018 to see a Castro-free Cuban regime.

On Sunday, Raúl Castro was elected, as expected, to another five years as president by Cuba's rubber-stamp National Assembly. But he used the stage to announce the surprising news that it would be his last term.

Speaking to an audience that included Fidel Castro making a rare public appearance, Raúl announced a "gradual transformation" including handing top jobs over to "new generations."

Raúl even put an official stamp of sorts on the possible successor to the Castros: Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermúdez, a former minister of higher education announced as Raúl's top deputy.

In Cuba -- where time stopped in 1959 and an 81-year-old taking over top office was considered a coup for the youth movement -- those moves alone amount to a serious policy shift. But Raúl didn't stop there: He also announced plans to push for term limits for top leaders and an age cap for the presidency.

"[This] represents a definitive step in the configuration of the future leadership of the nation," Raúl Castro told the assembly.

What it actually amounts to is a typically sluggish directional shift by a pair of brothers who might not be alive in five years. The New York Times describes Raúl's speech as an "unsentimental goodbye" to government, but that farewell still has another five years left to play out.

As for Cuba's leader-in-waiting, Bermúdez is a "technocrat," the Times reports, known for his loyalty to the Castros and his skills as a top-level government manager. Translation: He'll continue Raúl's gradual reforms toward capitalism, but don't expect a free-market avalanche once the Castros head for Cuba's version of Century Village.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.