A new era awaits Cuba, one without a Castro at the helm. After Raul Castro, the brother of Fidel Castro stepped down from Cuban premier, a number of challenges lie ahead the new Miguel Díaz-Canel administration, as the island nation faces serious economic crisis.
The Ganga Times, International Affairs: Cuba is now Castro-free. Finally, after almost 61 years, Castro rule has come to an end in Cuba. Last week, President Raul Castro, who is the brother of the famous or infamous Cuban revolutionist Fidel Castro, confirmed that he was stepping down from the leadership of the Cuban Communist Party. This marks the end of six decades of rule by the Castro brother.
At the four-day Communist Party Congress, the 89-years old junior Castro said the new leadership would be loyalists of the party with decades of experience. He asserted that his successor will be “full of passion and of anti-imperialist spirit.”
“I believe fervently in the strength and exemplary nature and comprehension of my compatriots, and as long as I live I will be ready with my foot in the stirrups to defend the fatherland, the revolution and socialism,” Castro told while addressing party delegates at a convention center in Havana.
On 19th April 2021, Miguel Diaz-Canel, who is seen close to Raul Castro, was sworn in as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba — the most senior position in the country.
Importance of this Transition of power: Raul to Miguel
Cuba and Castro have long been synonymous with each other. The two brothers ruled the country unchallenged since 1959 — the year Cuban revolution ended. Ever since the ruling government of Fulgencio Batista was toppled by Cuban revolutionists, the Castros have been the nucleus of country’s politics.
It is important to note that the transition comes as Cuba is in the midst of the worst economic crisis. Although the Island nation’s economy has not been in good shape since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there are signs of growing frustration among the Cubans. The younger population, in particular, is exasperated by the declining economic situation of the country, which Miguel Díaz-Canel is left to deal with.
Ameliorating Cuba’s economic crisis: The biggest challenge for Miguel Díaz-Canel
Many in the country and within the Communist Party are aware of the fact that they need to accept the market-based economy, which the party has always opposed to. On Friday, even the retiring Castro said Cuba is ready for a “new type of relationship with the United States of America without Cuba abandoning the principles of the revolution and socialism.”
Global affair experts believe that the new Cuban leadership under Miguel Díaz-Canel faces huge pressure to fix the economy and assure its population in tough times. They have to speed up the economic reform process, which will prove to be a gigantic task in front of them.
It will be interesting to see how the new administration of Cuba tackles all these challenges. Remember, Cuba is among those countries hit badly by the COVID-19 pandemic. There are long queues for beds outside hospitals, exposing the famous health system of Cuba which was run very well, completely free according to the socialist model. Cuban leaders are unable to manage their health structure, as the country’s major source of income has shut off, thanks to American sanctions, made worse by the collapse of their tourism industry during the pandemic.