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HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

Young Communists map out post-Castro Cuba

Posted April 04, 2010 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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AFP

Young Cuban communists gather here this weekend to map a future without Fidel and Raul Castro amid a deepening economic crisis, generational apathy and disenchantment with the revolution.

The Union of Communist Youth has embraced a slogan of socialist continuity for its conference, which is held every five years.

“There will be no turnover, only continuity,” said Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, Cuba’s first vice president, in preparatory meetings for the conference, rejecting out of hand changes in the country’s socialist system.

But the gathering is being watched closely for signs of change because it precedes what even President Raul Castro concedes will be the last Communist Party conference headed by the revolution’s historic leaders.

Castro has exhorted the party’s youth to work hard to overcome a host of difficulties facing the country—a lack of productivity, entrenched bureaucracy, economic centralization, corruption and the global economic crisis.

Thousands of young Cubans do not work and show no interest in working, used to a paternalistic state taking care of them and turned off by salaries that amount to the equivalent of 20 dollars a month.

In a country of 11.2 million people with one of the oldest populations in Latin America
, an estimated 30,000 people emigrate each year to the United States or Europe, and most of those are young people in search of economic opportunities.

Having come of age during the crisis that engulfed Cuba after the collapse of the Soviet Union, young people here have been affected more than most by the hardships of daily life, the growing inequality and the “collapse of expectations,” a recent analysis in the party organ Juventud Rebelde said.

The revolutionary slogans and appeals that moved their parents provoke indifference at best in many young people, prompting the authorities to intensify ideological education.

The youth conference also comes at a time of political ferment over the death of dissident Orlando Zapata in a prison hunger strike over a month ago, which has aroused dissident protests and international criticism of the government’s human rights record.


“I think this is a moment in which the revolution, the life of the country, is crying out for a review of a bunch of things, a bunch of concepts and even institutions,” said Silvio Rodriguez, a singer-songwriter much admired by the young.

Upon assuming power in July 2006 after his brother Fidel fell ill, Raul raised expectations of changes, especially among younger members of the population demanding a greater role to play.

Governed for half a century by the old guard of the Cuban Communist Party, the country has no young leaders positioned to replace the Castro brothers’ generation.

Last year, the revolution’s only fresh faces—vice president Carlos Lage and foreign minister Felipe Perez Roque—were abruptly dismissed from their posts.

Liudmila Alamo, the first secretary of the Union of Communist Youth, said the survival of the communist system as the main challenge facing the country’s youth and called on them to confront “pseudo revolutionaries.”

With 600,000 members, the union is considered the “vanguard” of a youthful generation that will have the last word on the future of the island’s communist government.

Member Comments

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On April 04, 2010, publisher wrote:

I know.

It’s hard to read the title let alone the article without laughing but there it is.

I love how 80+ year old Jose Ramon Machado Ventura rejects any change to socialism. So, I guess the Young Communist got their orders early and from very high up.

Nice to see that the next generation will have the freedom to determine their own post-Castro Cuban government.

“Last year, the revolution’s only fresh faces—vice president Carlos Lage and foreign minister Felipe Perez Roque—were abruptly dismissed from their posts.”

That, for all you Fidel lovers” is what the next generation of leaders can look forward to.

Continuity? That’s funny. There is no one under 70 with any power in the Cuban government except maybe Mariela Castro and she’s in charge of CENESEX. Not exactly the leader of the Communist party.

What a joke. Again.

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On April 05, 2010, publisher wrote:

AP story about Raul speaking to the Young Communists

Raul said “You have a bright future in this country”.

No. Just kidding.

He blamed the US for the hunger strikers. He is teaching the Young Communists to blame the US for everything.

So, he means “You have a bright future in this country if you blame the US for everything, promise changes but never really do anything, always yield to everything Fidel says and don’t grow up to be like Felipe Perez Roque or Carlos Lage”

Then, you can have a bright future in politics in Cuba.

Nice speech Raul. Very inspirational. You are such a genius. A real leader of men.

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On April 05, 2010, publisher wrote:

The text of Raul Castro’s speech to the Young Communists.

This is the THIRD paragraph of his speech:

“This Congress has been held in the midst of one of the most vicious and best arranged media campaigns launched against the Cuban Revolution in its 50 years of life, an issue I will necessarily have to refer to later on.”

Interesting. The “best” arranged media campaigns? and he mentions it in his third paragraph?

“I am aware that there has been little talk about achievements in order to focus on the problems…”

Probably because there hasn’t been any achievements?

The rest of the speech goes on to blame the US then many paragraphs talk about Cuban history from mambisies to the bay of pigs etc etc.

Basically Raul is saying “blame the US, it’s not my fault and viva la revolucion”

Boring.

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On April 07, 2010, Gringo Cubano wrote:

Amazing the complete failure of the communist system is admitted to, but of course, we are counting on the ‘young’ communists (anyone under 75 apparently) to FIX all the problems that have accumulated under Fidel’s 50 year watch…

“Castro has exhorted the party’s youth to work hard to overcome a host of difficulties facing the country—a lack of productivity, entrenched bureaucracy, economic centralization, corruption and the global economic crisis.

Thousands of young Cubans do not work and show no interest in working, used to a paternalistic state taking care of them and turned off by salaries that amount to the equivalent of 20 dollars a month.”

Among the “host of difficulties facing the country”, only one, the global economic crisis, can be blamed on anyone outside of Cuba.  I’d love to see the reasoning which blames the Yankee Americans for “lack of productivity, entrenched bureaucracy, economic centralization, and corruption”.... gee, these are the same things the old Soviet Union suffered from, and which China suffered from before embracing capitalism (and still suffers from in some regards due to lack of political competition/freedom and govt transparency).

So, despite the fact that their system is completely messed up, they will ensure ‘continuity’.... Viva la Revolucion!  (while ordinary Cubans yawn and wonder where today’s meal will come from as the rations are cut).