Less than a month before Raúl Castro officially leaves power in Cuba his successor is still unknown. Which raises the question: will the power change merely serve as an instrument to perpetuate the tenure of Raúl, heir of the Castro dynasty?
“Raúl’s plan is to have a puppet in office and remain in power until his death, as well as leave his family safe from possible legal reprisals,” Andrés Albuquerque, an Afro-Cuban Forum activist, told the PanAm Post. But Castro’s plan will not necessarily succeed, especially considering the leader’s fragile health.
Albuquerque says his impression is that the Junta is in the process of negotiating with Washington, in order to avoid the possibility of a collapse.
“When there is so much silence between the two capitals, something is usually going on, and the assassins have always been much more willing to negotiate with the hawks than with the doves,” he adds.
Many are unaware that it was the Castro brothers who overthrew the government of the first Hispanic president of African descent, Fulgencio Batista. The Castro family has since monopolized power and established themselves as a veritable political dynasty.
“The proverbial demagoguery of the left and its acolytes paints a world in which the right is racist and they are intolerant, not only in terms of race and ethnic groups but in terms of inclinations of all kinds,” Albuquerque said.
“It is easy to see how Mrs. Clinton, trying to justify her shameful defeat, blames everyone else, and calls those of us who voted for Trump racist and ignorant. It is ironic that this corrupt lady accuses me, who is black, of hating African-Americans. According to her, those of us who vote for the current president are like that,” he said, adding, “many in Latin America do not know that the party of slavery and the Ku Klux Klan was historically the Democratic Party, not the Republican party.”
“Wherever the left has managed to impose its will, we have seen the breakdown of the family, intolerance for opposing points of view, and racism,” he said.
Albuquerque also said that Communist regimes from the USSR to Cuba have herded homosexuals and people of religious faith into concentration camps. The Cuban author Pablo Milanés, and the former head of the Catholic Church, Jaime Cardenal Ortega y Alamino, are survivors of such abuse.
However, he said that prejudices of all kinds exist on both sides of the ideological spectrum, which is why “it is fundamental that we do not allow the left to distort and manipulate history.”
He speaks from firsthand knowledge. He grew up in a family aligned with the Popular Socialist Party (the Communists before Castro).
His constructive criticism of the Castro regime has left Albuquerque unemployed; a common phenomenon in Cuba, and in any regime where state control is so strong that those in power decide who can work and who cannot.
As Trotsky, leader of the red army and lover of Frida Kahlo, persecuted and assassinated during one of the Stalinist purges, said: “In capitalism, those who do not work do not eat; in socialism, those who disobey do not eat.”
Because of his disobedience, in 1988 Albuquerque was exiled. Now that he enjoys freedom of expression, he tells us that just as Soviet socialism had its purges, so did Cuban socialism.
The current first vice president of Cuba, Diaz-Canel, managed to escape from such a purge, despite his closeness to Roberto Robaina, who was dismissed from his position as foreign minister.
According to Albuquerque, Diaz-Canel’s positioning as a favorite for succession is in order to “avoid the distrust of the generals.”
“There is a version according to which some elements close to power would be putting forth Diaz-Canel as president of the State Council, and Rodríguez Parrilla as president of the Council of Ministers, as in the times of the USSR. Brezhnev, Podgorny, and Kosygin,” he says.
Considering that he has only three years of military experience, he suggests that Díaz-Canel helps to “clean up” the image of the Junta; “Chosen by Raúl as a front, but the power, for now, will continue to be exercised from his office.” Thus, with a civil face, the military regime would “control the country behind the scenes.”
Albuquerque distinguishes the military from the “historical leaders.” For example, Ramiro Valdez, Guillermo García, and Machado Ventura have no military experience or troops under their command. That’s why he does not talk about viable candidates, but “usable” candidates, like Rodrigo Malmierca, among others.