Raúl Castro handed the presidency of Cuba to Miguel Díaz-Canel, one of the few top leaders within the dictatorial team who was born after the Castro revolutionary takeover in 1959.
But to present his credentials as new Head of State and Government he was quick to clarify that Raúl Castro “will remain taking the most important decisions for the present and future of the nation.”
It is a blurry forecast if -as Castro II indicated- Diaz-Canel becomes in 2021 the new First Secretary of the PCC. It will be appropriate to think that Castro’s retirement in 2021 from the position of first Secretary of the Cuban Communist Party (CCP) would be another further step to hide that the real power of the dictatorship rests in the military power elite regardless of who may be the president of the country or the top leader of the CCP. This military elite is who really rules the island. All others, at the most, are limited to manage and implement their directives.
In most countries when a president leaves office the question that citizens commonly ask is whether the nation is better or worse off than when the outgoing president assumed that responsibility. But Cuba under the totalitarian regime is not a “standard’ country. With the despair and apathy that marks everyday life nobody even cares to ask these questions. For six decades the Cuban people have been so disappointed that they don’t want to hear anything related to politics. The truth is that Raúl Castro leaves the country worse than it was in 2006 when he took control over the driving wheel from his brother Fidel. Cubans today are poorer and unhappy, and above all they are more frustrated than back then, which is a lot to say.
Opposition activists in the island unanimously believe that nothing essential is going to change with this brand new “president”. Not only because he can’t change any substantive issue, but because he is not the number one in the nation, and also because he himself does not seems to care much about promoting systemic changes, as he has previously reiterated in several occasions.