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Location: Havana, Cuba

is a blog to give a fresh angle on a fascinating and beautiful Caribbean Island country that, despite being relatively small and with only 11 million people, has been a major player in American and world politics for a half century. I also suggest you try www.havanatimes.org

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Suspense Mounts in Cuba after Fidel Retires

By Circles Robinson

Fidel Castro made public on Tuesday his decision not to seek reelection as Cuba’s president, opening the door to a new leadership when the parliament convenes on Sunday.

The man who has led his country since the triumph of the Cuban revolution in 1959 said he would continue to write his reflections on historic and current events —as he has done during his prolonged convalescence after intestinal surgery— offering his experience to the younger generations.

Castro’s decision paves the way for the newly elected 614-member legislature to choose a new president for a five-year term. It will also elect the 31-member Council of State, which has among its functions the authority to exercise most legislative power between sessions of the parliament.

While a major chapter in Cuban and world history comes to a close with Fidel’s announcement, it takes place on his and Cuba’s terms, to the chagrin of the Miami exile lobby and the Bush administration, who above all want to see upheaval and an end to the island’s socialist system.

Acting President Raul Castro and Vice President Carlos Lage are considered the leading candidates to replace Fidel who turns 82 in August.

In his letter published Tuesday morning, Fidel notes that the new government and legislature will have to adopt “many agreements of utmost importance to the destiny of our revolution.”

FROM EXPEDITIONARY TO PASSING THE BATON

When leaving Mexico for Cuba on the Granma yacht commanding 82 expeditionary comrades back in 1956, Fidel Castro said, “If we set out, we’ll arrive; If we arrive, we’ll enter; and If we enter we’ll triumph.”

What seemed like a fantasy back then came true and Fidel has weathered umpteen crises over the last half century to maintain his small country afloat against great adversity.

Repeated CIA assassination plots, the Bay of Pigs invasion, the October Missile Crisis, the disappearance of the Soviet Union (Cuba’s main ally through the 1980s), and the ongoing US blockade have all proved unable to turn back the clock to the pre-revolution years.

Now, one could add a fourth conditional conjunction to Fidel’s Granma prophecy back in 1956, illustrating the revolution’s success in building stable institutions allowing for a smooth passing of the baton: If we triumph we will persevere.

"Fortunately, our Revolution can still count on cadres from the old guard and others who were very young in the early stages of the process," wrote Fidel Castro Tuesday in his statement. "They have the authority and the experience to guarantee the replacement," he notes.

3 Comments:

Blogger Lynden said...

In a comment to one of your blogs last year, I had suggested that President Castro was guiding the transition under everyone's noses. The problem is that too many persons end up believing their own propaganda. They believe their mischievous fairy tales!!

As you so rightly point out, many outsiders cannot accept that Cuba operates "stable institutions allowing for a smooth passing of the baton". The clues were there for everyone prepared to listen with understanding: Provincial and Parliamentary elections were precisely the framework within which the transition would gradually happen. Cuba has never been known to say one thing and do another. There is a Constitution and the Rule of Law. Being an example to the rest of the world demands that you live by the principles you set for yourself.

Cuba carries an international stature that eclipses most other countries. Why should Fidel squander a lifetime of sacrifice and so much political capital, for petty egocentrism? Pity that those who judge him, do so only through their own lenses. They never understand; nor can they accept. Arrogance can be debilitating.

Lynden

1:30 PM  
Anonymous jjack said...

I've been kind of curious about one thing; it's my understanding that the Cuban president must come from a pool of candidates already elected to the national assembly. So does that mean that Fidel will still be serving in parliament?

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.insightnews.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=37&TopicID=508&PagePosition=1&ThreadPage=1

I have posted your commentary in the Insight News discussion forum. I am interested in receiving regular commentary/correspondence from you.

I am an American born Cuban. I have never visted Cuba but would like to someday soon. I look forward to hearing from you.
Al McFarlane
Minneapolis, MN
al@insightnews.com
www.insightnews.com

6:08 AM  

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