The Castro dynasty's favorite American
There is a very interesting article by Ann Louise Bardach about President Obama's favorite Castro. It gives you a little insight into the relationship of Fidel and Raúl Castro. It also confirms that President Obama is hoping that Raúl Castro changes!
From the beginning, the Fidel-Raúl relationship has been clear to all Cubans. Fidel is the GM and Raúl the plant manager. Everybody knows Fidel, but Raúl is in the back office, making sure that the repressive machine of the state is running smoothly.
This relationship is probably based on "brotherly love." It may be also be rooted on Fidel's ruthless control of power. After all, Raúl is keenly aware that few around Fidel have survived to old age.
Back in 1959, Camilo Cienfuegos, the second most popular leader of the revolution, disappeared mysteriously in a plane crash. He had challenged Castro a few days before about the arrest of Huber Matos, the other commander who dissented and spent 20 years in a torturous political prison.
Even Che Guevara, the darling of U.S. college professors and the uninformed, was eventually left alone in Bolivia, where he was trying to start his own revolution. There are many Cubans who believe that Fidel gave Che a choice: go start your own revolution, or I will execute you as a traitor for all of your criticisms.
Raúl was faithful to Fidel all along – then was given control of the country in 2006, when Fidel announced his illness.
In the article, Bardach tells of the story of how Raúl Castro is now in charge and hoping to change Cuba for the benefit of his son Alejandro, the next Castro.
Before you go out and think that Raúl Castro is a moderate, or another despot changed by Obama's magical personally, remember a couple of things that Anne Louise Bardach explains:
And what a deal he has made with the United States, scoring the big-ticket items on his wish list: the release of the remaining Cuban Five prisoners, an avalanche of American tourists and their cash, a huge uptick in remittances and investment capital, while sliding off the U.S.’s state-sponsored terrorist list.
At the same time, he kiboshed most of the U.S. demands—open elections, human rights’ guarantees, $7 billion in U.S. property claims, an independent media and accessible Internet.
Nor will any dissidents be allowed to attend the embassy ceremony on Friday, a move widely viewed as a capitulation. (A senior State Department official explained Wednesday, somewhat improbably, that the absence of dissidents was due to “limited space,” while declining to give the number of invitees.
While America can merely claim that it has finally removed Cuba as a hot potato irritant for itself, its allies and neighbors—and retrieved the hapless USAID contractor Alan Gross—Raúl Castro has rescued his island-nation from bankruptcy, collapse and isolation.
Second, there is no indication that these reforms include political reforms. In other words, this is about saving the Castro family in power:
These days, Raúl is building an even deeper legacy, one that will likely outlast both him and his brother—ensuring that the Castro family will hold the reins of power for some years to come.
So this is why I say that Obama is the Castros' favorite American. He has made it possible for the family, and Castro Inc., to stay in power.
Not bad for Raúl Castro, a man drowning last fall but now firmly in control after the Obama lifeline.