End of Castro era is a change of image to continue with "dictatorial rule" in Cuba: analyst.
For the first time in 62 years, there will be no Castro in the leadership of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC). Now, the island's leader, Miguel Díaz-Canel, will be the new first secretary of the PCC; however, Cuban analysts and activists say that this changeover is mere symbolism.
The Eighth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) culminated on Monday with the transfer of power from Raúl Castro as first secretary of the PCC to Díaz-Canel, putting an end to the Castro era in power since 1959. The date chosen for the start of the event-which took place between April 16 and 19-began on the same day that marked the 60th anniversary of the proclamation of socialism on the island.
For political scientist and columnist for El American, Julio M. Shiling, this resignation signifies a continuation of the dictatorial rule of the regime in Cuba.
"Image is fundamental for a regime like the Cuban one. Díaz-Canel represents a new face and plays the perfect role for the regime, since he does not have the Castro surname and is extremely submissive to the Party's objectives," said Shiling.
Díaz-Canel, she said, does not have the freedom or space to make any decision that departs from the "pre-elaborated program" of the Castro communist model. "He cannot get out of that script."
The analyst also pointed out that it is convenient for the Castro regime to have someone like Díaz-Canel as long as "behind the scenes" there is a Castro with enormous power. As an example, Shiling said, there is Raúl Castro's son, Alejandro Castro Espín, who is a colonel in Castro's intelligence and will be "making sure that the monolithic voice of the PCC follows the Leninist line".
Also, Castro's son-in-law, General Luis Alberto Lopez-Callejas, is now executive president of the Business Administration Group, the body that controls the Party's finances. And Castro's grandson, Raúl Rodríguez Castro, son of López-Callejas, is head of the Department of Personal Security.
Cuban activist Rosa María Payá also said that this transfer is a "great propaganda effort" to present as a moment of change what is nothing more than a "fraud change".
Payá, daughter of the late opposition leader Oswaldo Payá, believes that the Congress, like Raúl Castro's "withdrawal" is nothing more than a "staging designed for international consumption". A mere representation, Paya pointed out, "to put an exclusively nominal civilian face on the dictatorship" and to try to obtain "economic concessions from Washington and Europe".
But "the Cuban people continue to be the great excluded", Payá asserted. "When the Cuban regime submits to the sovereign will of the people," then we will be able to speak of a democratic change in Cuba, he added.
On the other hand, Shiling pointed out that the transitions within the regime are changes that "seek survival", since Cuba is currently facing its worst economic crisis because its "sources of wealth" such as drug trafficking and Venezuelan oil are no longer enough. "The big foreign investment that the Cuban regime was waiting for to establish in Cuba a sort of 'tropical China' never arrived, and that was a survival problem for them," he said.
However, the political scientist said, the "great fear" of Castro-communism is that something like the Tiananmen Square Massacre in Beijing in 1989 will happen. "The Cuban regime is afraid of initiating profound economic modifications because that could lead to pressure for greater freedoms, and if that happens, something similar to Tiananmen Square in China could happen," he said.
"Castro-communism prefers not to confront that phenomenon for fear that the troops will not obey orders," he added.
The Cuban analyst also said that this change of power could be one more step taken by the island's regime to establish new relations with the United States.
"The Donald Trump administration conducted a very well-founded campaign based on seeing the threat of communist Cuba not as an isolated phenomenon, but as part of a network of dictatorial regimes with enormous influence in the Western Hemisphere," he said.
"It is likely that the sanctions imposed by the Trump administration will be deactivated by President Joe Biden, so without a doubt the Cuban regime has its eyes on the new administration," Shiling added, noting that there is likewise political pressure from both sides of the political spectrum in the US.
"There are Cuban-American democrats, such as Congressman Bob Menendez, in terms of demanding that the same mistakes made by President Obama of having a rapprochement with the Cuban regime without asking for conditions to improve human rights not be made," he said.
During a daily press conference at the White House last week, press secretary Jen Psaki noted that it was "not one of Biden's top priorities" to engage in talks with the Cuban regime at this time. Likewise, Biden's administration assured that Biden "is not Barack Obama in Cuba policy".
The political scientist also mentioned that no faith should be placed in "changes arising from political power" within the communist regime.
"When we talk about what is Marxist subversion in Latin America, it has the stamp of Cuba, without any exception. So the liberation of Cuba is transferred to the eventual liberation of the rest of Latin America," he said.
With information from EFE.
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