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Posted December 21, 2006 by publisher in Castro's Cuba

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Associated Press
Raul Castro said he will delegate more and speak less than his “irreplaceable” brother Fidel and, in comments published today, may be a signal that a new leadership style might include more openness to divergent opinions.

The Communist Party newspaper Granma said Raul Castro, who took over as Cuba’s provisional president almost five months ago after his brother underwent emergency surgery, told about 800 university leaders they should “fearlessly” engage in public debate and analysis – expressing a different leadership style than that of his 80-year-old brother.

The elder Castro, who underwent emergency intestinal surgery in July, was Cuba’s “Maximum Leader” for almost five decades, characterized by meandering, hours-long speeches, unquestioned decisions and micro-management of government programs and policies.

The younger Castro said that as Cuba’s long-serving defense minister he had learned to listen to and discuss differing ideas.

Raul Castro is largely seen as a pragmatist more likely to embrace limited free enterprise than his brother, and in the past has expressed interest in China’s model of capitalist reform with one-party political control.

“The first principle in constructing any armed forces is the sole command. But that doesn’t mean that we cannot discuss,” he said. “That way we reach decisions, and I’m talking about big decisions.”

Raul Castro also echoed his earlier insistence that neither he nor any individual could replace his brother. Although some Cuban officials have insisted Fidel Castro will return to power, they privately acknowledge that it is unlikely he will come back in the same all-powerful role.

“Fidel is irreplaceable, save that we all replace him together, each one in his place,” Granma quoted Raul Castro as telling the closing session of Cuba’s University Student Federation annual congress. “The only substitute for Fidel can be the Communist Party of Cuba.”

The 75-year-old Raul Castro also spoke of the need to promote younger people to start taking over for Cuba’s aging leaders, many of whom are now in their 70s.

“We are finishing up the fulfillment of our duties and there has to be a slow opening up to the new generations,” he said.

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  1. Follow up post #1 added on December 21, 2006 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    A snipet from the BBC:

    “During his speech on Wednesday, Raul Castro, 75, did not mention his brother’s health.

    He told the audience of university students that Cuba’s communist system would continue with or without Fidel.

    Fidel’s designated successor, who is also defence minister, said Cuba was at a historic moment.

    “I say historic because, like it or not, we are finishing the fulfilment of our duty and we have to give way to new generations,” he said.

    “Fidel is irreplaceable, unless we all replace him together.”


    Reading between the lines here but sounds like there might be some elections in the near future? Watch for a political prisoner release. That may already be in the works but Raul might wait to time it just right or use it as a negotiation chip.

    LOTS of subtle news regarding Cuba lately. I think Raul might want to be a hero just like Fidel and I think he can if he opens up Cuba.

    Spring 2007 is the end of the Embargo.

    Just my two cents.

    Cuba consulting services

  2. Follow up post #2 added on December 21, 2006 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    I am also getting the sense that Raul et al might be posturing the death of Fidel to be a non-event.

    Makes sense. Start representing Fidel as a hero of the past and tout all the victories against Imperialism. Talk about his health less or not at all yet play up his ideals and place in Cuba’s history while the new generation (okay Raul) moves the country forward.

    Then, when He dies, the country is already in transition, moving forward and Fidel’s funeral will merely be a look back at history.

    That’s what I see.

    Now, how to offer “actionable intelligence” as they say…not quiet sure just yet but stay tuned to the Havana Journal.

    Cuba consulting services

  3. Follow up post #3 added on December 22, 2006 by Varsi Padayachee

    If this is in fact the case, it is a step in the right direction. History has shown that sudden changes create chaos, leading to a mercenary type of mentality to surface from within and without. As with Che, Cubans will always look at Fidel as their saviour, and hopefully with his passing, the transition will be civil, orderly and organized. However, my biggest fear is that the US will use this as an opportuniy to create chaos and attempt to de-stabilize the Govt. For all it rhetoric about democracy, freedom and an open society, the US (especially under this admin.) has lost its sense of responsibility, and will continue to push a cowboy mentality. Look at the unmitigated disaster in the Middle East. Howver, I am hopeful, given the new unity of Latin America and the Caribbean, that the mischief makers will be exposed before they can effect their plans.

  4. Follow up post #4 added on December 23, 2006 by MiamiCuban

    While I don’t think that Castro will be dying anytime soon, I do think Cuba is preparing for this eventual event, and doing so very wisely by transferring power while he is still alive.  As Publisher said, when the time comes, the announcement of the death won’t be a monumental event that suddenly springs the Miami exiles into a massive flotilla across the straits.  I agree with Varsi that “sudden changes create chaos”, and this is exactly what the Cuban government wants to avoid.  Too bad for the exiles…..that was going to be their glorious day and now the thunder has been stolen from them.  Castro was a simple man in many ways, and I see him going quietly and without all the fanfare, but remaining in history books for centuries.

  5. Follow up post #5 added on December 23, 2006 by J. Perez

    The revolution that could have been and should have been may yet take place in Cuba.

    In 1959 it felt victim to the Cold War, but the new leadership in Cuba, and I don’t mean just Raul, can get it back on track, but none of it could have been possible without Fidel’s determination to see Cuba a sovereign nation.

  6. Follow up post #6 added on December 23, 2006 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    J Perez, I think you are right about Raul succeeding with the new La Revolucion, what I call La Revolucion 2.0.

    Regarding Fidel’s death, I think the current Castro administration is already talking about Fidel in the past tense as though he is a part of history. That way, when Fidel does die, it will be a non-event.

    Cuba consulting services

  7. Follow up post #7 added on December 23, 2006 by MiamiCuban

    J. Perez:  I agree 100% with your last comment.  I believe we live in a mysterious but synchronized universe and there is rhyme and reason to the events that unfold.

  8. Follow up post #8 added on December 23, 2006 by Captain Cuba

    MR. PUBLISHER:  Re “” La Revolucion 2.0 “”,  I find the book “” Cuba A Revolution In Motion “”, written by Issac Saney, an interesting read.

  9. Follow up post #9 added on December 23, 2006 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Thank you. I will look into it.

    Cuba consulting services

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