Raul Castro

Fidel Castro is dead and brother Raúl is no longer president of Cuba. But communism can still move the needle in Miami campaigns.

Decades after the Cuban revolution spawned an exodus that reshaped South Florida culture and U.S. politics in the Caribbean, political exiles are declining in number in Miami and leftist angst is fading. But it's far from gone. And under the right conditions and in the right neighborhoods, evoking the tyranny of dictators can still be an effective tactic in manipulating votes and undercutting opponents.

AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Covering Cuba, I’ve long followed this maxim: If both the communist leadership in Havana and the exile leadership in Miami are angry at you, you’ve probably done your job right.

I felt that way 10 years ago this very week, when I wrote that Fidel Castro and his brother Raúl disagreed on economic policy.

Ismael Francisco / AP via Miami Herald

Updated April 19, 2018

Cuba’s likely new president is a good generation younger than the Castro crowd he’s replacing. The younger generation of Cuban exiles here doesn’t expect that to mean change on the communist island. But many say it’s better than what Cuba has now.

Ismael Francisco / AP via Miami Herald

On Wednesday, Cuba may have a new president, elected by the National Assembly. (The election session had been scheduled to start Thursday, but the government moved it up a day.)

“Election” is a relative term here – Cuba is a communist state – but something does set it apart.

Associated Press

Cuba moved up by a day the historic legislative session in which Raúl Castro will leave the presidency. The session of the National Assembly will be on Wednesday instead of Thursday, official press reported Monday.

The Council of State said it was moving up the meeting of the National Assembly in order to “facilitate the development of the steps that such a transcendental session requires.” The National Assembly session will begin at 9 a.m. in Havana’s Convention Palace.

Desmond Boylan / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

This Sunday, Cuba will hold what passes for parliamentary elections there. Voters will ratify National Assembly candidates pre-selected by the ruling Communist Party. On April 19 the Assembly will elect one of its own as President of the country.

It’s a neat little system that’s even less democratic than the U.S. Electoral College.

Cuban Leader Raúl Castro Will Stay In Power Past February

Dec 21, 2017
AGP/Getty Images via Miami Herald

The Cuban government has announced that it will postpone a historic presidential election in 2018.

Cuban leader Raúl Castro will remain in power at least until April 19, the new date in which a new legislature and the president of the Councils of State and Ministers will be elected.

Castro had announced that he would retire at the end of his two terms on Feb. 24, the original date of the election of the new National Assembly.

Fears of a dictatorship forming in Venezuela seemed borne out early Tuesday  when the government hauled opposition leaders to jail. But this is shaping up to be a bad week for democracy and free enterprise across the Caribbean.

Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicolás Maduro, had promised to jail many of his opponents once a new constituent assembly was elected on Sunday. That body will now rewrite Venezuela’s constitution to give Maduro sweeping new executive powers that critics call a dictatorship.

AP

Cuba’s communist leadership remains reluctant to open the island to more free market reforms and foreign investment. But Cuba’s latest economic data for 2016 might make those hardliners reconsider.

Just a few months ago, Cuba’s economy was forecast to grow 1 percent this year. It wasn’t much; but at least it was growth. This week, President Raúl Castro has admitted even that was an illusion: Cuba’s GDP, he said, will actually shrink 1 percent in 2016 - the first economic contraction in more than 20 years.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

HAVANA – In a eulogy last week in Havana for his brother Fidel Castro, Cuban President Raúl Castro often saluted los jóvenes – young people. But it couldn’t hide the fact that communist Cuba is still run by much older people. Like Raúl, who’s 85.

Tom Hudson

Fidel Castro may be dead, but his shadow lurks over the Cuban economy even as it absorbs -- oftentimes resists -- the biggest changes in its relationship with the U.S. in more than a half century. At the same time, a new American president-elect has promised to extract more freedoms and restitution from Cuba if the new economic engagement is to continue. The Sunshine Economy looks at this double challenge in the economic dealings between South Florida and the island.

 

 

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Last month we thought Cuba’s communist hardliners had put the brakes on growing the island’s private sector. But you never know with Cuba.

Today Havana issued a hopeful reform that Cuba’s half a million fledgling entrepreneurs – or cuentapropistas – have long waited for. The island’s communist government announced that small private businesses may now become genuine legal entities.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

On Saturday, Cuba’s communist leaders will launch their seventh party congress – a gathering to set the island’s future political and economic course. It will run through Tuesday, April 19.

The last congress was held five years ago – but since then, Cuba has normalized relations with its sworn cold-war enemy, the United States.

Cubans Embrace President Obama's Call For Change On The Island

Mar 23, 2016
Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

It's fairly apparent that President Obama's historic speech to Cubans yesterday was received positively on the island.

Obama called for democracy, free expression and a freer economy during his 35-minute speech at the Gran Teatro in Old Havana Tuesday morning. Obama even directly addressed Cuban leader Raúl Castro, who was in the audience, telling him the U.S. presidential visit means he no longer needs to fear Cuba's Cold War foe.

"I have come here to bury the last remnant of the Cold War in the Americas," Obama declared in perhaps the linchpin line of his speech.

WhiteHouse.gov

COMMENTARY

HAVANA - Shortly after Barack Obama’s historic speech in Havana Tuesday morning, I met a smart, 34-year-old Cuban accountant named Kariel González in the Vedado district.

He’d listened to President Obama on the radio, and he was cheering the U.S. leader's last line – ¡Sí Se Puede! – a Spanish rendering of his iconic campaign slogan, Yes We Can!

González said he'd already heard Cubans repeat the soundbite on the sidewalks. “It’s the sort of thing that makes Obama so popular on the island,” he told me.

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