A New Cuba for a New Castro?

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Yesterday (3/31/08) one dream of many Cubans came true when Raul Castro did away with the laws that forbade Cuban citizens from staying in, or even entering, the island’s luxury hotels and resorts. Today more dreams are coming true! Starting on April 1st cubans can now purchase things like computers, plasma TVs, electric powered bicycles and cell phones; until today those items and many other imported consumer products were only available to companies and foreign tourists.

What, you may well wonder, is going through Raul Castro’s head? By allowing these luxuries to those Cubans who can afford them he is creating the one thing that his brother Fidel was violently opposed to: an upper class of Cubans. At the same time he is taking a chance by making the poor Cubans — the vast majority of Cubans — feel even poorer.

You have to believe that Raul knows what he’s doing and, if you believe that, you can forsee his next steps. The Cuban economy will be opened up to more foreign investment; he’ll make whatever moves are necessary to romance the Cuban American community (the cell phones were a good start); he will make efforts to resume full relations with the United States and most importantly, he will encourage new industry to come to Cuba. With new factories come jobs and with jobs come better pay and suddenly you have what you would never have seen under Fidel: a capitalist economy.

The WHY of all this can only be answered with pure conjecture but to my eyes the reason is obvious: Raul realizes what Fidel never did: Cuba is another failed experiment in socialism and if that socialism does not go away, its only a matter of time until he does.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for a truly democratic form of government in Cuba; Raul doesn’t want or need the end to his regime that a true democracy would bring. He knows that a capitalist economy can survive and even flourish under a benevolent dictator (he’s seen it in South America) and if Raul assumes that role of the benevolent dictator the New Cuba, while not perfect to American eyes, will be far, far site better than what was. Better for the Cuban citizens and possibly better for the United States.

News Links:

Associated Press (via Yahoo): Thanks Raul: Cubans can stay in hotels

CNN International: Cuba opens tourist hotels to citizens

Blog Links:

The political fancier: Cubans Go From Microwaves to Cell Phones, Can You Hear Me Now?

Jordan Whitley: Good news Cubans: You can now vacation in Cuba?

Whymrhymer’s P.O.V. can also be found at the Blogger News Network at the American Chronicle.

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2 thoughts on “A New Cuba for a New Castro?

  1. I believe Raul will attempt very limited reforms to the economy. He will not allow any strong measure of capitalism to take root in Cuba because it would ultimately lead a situation where people will be demanding political reforms too. He wants to open the spigot slightly but not so much where he loses control.

  2. Henry, First of all, thank you for reading and commenting.

    You may be right about very limited reforms but my confusion concerns his reason for starting this process.

    Allowing only the well-off Cubans to enjoy the benefits of his reforms will certainly inflame the poor Cubans — he could be taking a chance on a revolution — a Peasants’ Revolt like England saw in 1381. That’s why I theorize that he is ready to open the spigot, as far as job creation and standard of living are concerned. It will be a balancing act and it will rely on maintaining an image (a facade for sure) as a social reformer working FOR the people.

    Hugo Chavez has managed this to some degree but Chavez seems to be going through a psychological melt-down that will eventually be his undoing.

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