The state of Cuba in 2013: Cosmetic reforms are a distraction

Via Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter:

The state of Cuba in 2013: Cosmetic reforms are a distraction

Below is the English translation of an article published in Estonian for the publication Maailma Vaade.

The state of Cuba in 2013 
Cosmetic reforms are a distraction 

In the midst of the first serious Cholera outbreak to hit Cuba since the late 19th century and a massive crackdown on human rights the international media has focused on cosmetic reforms by the Castro regime.

On August 8, 2012 BBC News reported that the Castro government’s ban on anti-Castro musicians had been quietly lifted. Others soon followed reporting on the news. The stories specifically mentioned Celia Cruz as one of the artists whose music would return to Cuban radio. On August 21, 2012 an e-mail by Rolando Álvarez, the national director of the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television Instituto Cubano de Radio y Televisión (ICRT) was made public and confirmed that the music of the late Celia Cruz would continue to be banned.

On October 16, 2012 the regime in Cuba announced a new migration law that took effect on January 14, 2013. The white card that Cubans had to obtain to be able to exit their homeland was retired but new restrictions were placed on being able to obtain a passport and the cost nearly doubled. Some dissidents have been told that they will be able to travel while others have been refused the new passport.

The Castro brothers are masters of distraction and these so-called reforms are the latest manifestation of this practice. This leads to the question what is actually taking place on the island in 2013? What is the state of Cuba now and where is it headed?

The Dictatorship 

Between 1959 and 2006 Fidel Castro had all power concentrated in his hands and due to a serious illness turned it over provisionally to his brother, General Raul Castro, who had previously been Minister of Defense. On February 24, 2008 the 597 members of the rubber stamp assembly unanimously elected a 31 member Council of State that in turn elected Raul Castro “president” at the Palace of Conventions in Havana, Cuba.

In 2009, Raul Castro conducted a purge of leadership positions in the regime. Fidel Castro emerged on the public scene to criticize the Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque and Cuban Vice-President Carlos Lage and both promptly resigned and apologized for their indiscretions. This was followed later in 2009 by a wider purge of top regime officials.

The aftermath of this leadership shake up is a dictatorship where four of the seven “Vice-Presidents” are also military generals in control of all aspects of the economy. The regime in Cuba since 1959 has engaged in numerous tactical changes in the service of one overriding objective: continuing and maintaining the underlying totalitarian nature of the dictatorship in the island and the continued rule of the Castro brothers. The Cuban Ministry of the Interior (G2) founded in 1959, was trained and advised by the East German STASI intelligence service and adopted many of its tactics and remains an effective pillar of the dictatorship.

The Cuban economy remains militarized. This is a trend that stretches back to the special period in the early 1990s. The Empresarial Administration Group [Grupo de Administración Empresarial S.A.] (GAESA) that in 2008 controlled 25 percent of Cuba’s economy and foreign exchange earnings is run by Colonel Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez-Calleja, which is controlled by Castro’s Ministry of the Armed Forces (MINFAR), headed by General Leopoldo Cintas Frias. Another large chunk of the Cuban economy is the company Gaviota that deals with tourism is controlled by the MINFAR and Castro’s Ministry of the Interior (MININT) that runs a hotel chain, an airline, taxi company, marinas, shops, restaurants and museums and is under the control of another general. The tourist group Cubanacán was founded at the beginning of the 1980s and is also under military control.

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2 thoughts on “The state of Cuba in 2013: Cosmetic reforms are a distraction

  1. Leave it up to an Estonian article to tell the absolute truth about Cuba. I have never seen anything even approaching that level of honesty in the American MSM. Now, that’s what journalism is about.

  2. Ray, the American MSM woefully fails to do its job on domestic matters. Why would it do better on Cuba?

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