It is a hope for Cuba reduce its oil bill

March 28, 2012 12:00 AM
It is a hope for Cuba reduce its oil bill

What is the issue of the Cuban elections in a one-party regime

The issue is real. The key is to know if we are going towards an institutional change and if yes which. In other words, what place will be Fidel Castro at the end of this complex electoral process, which must lead to the election of the President of the Council of State, which is the head of State. Fidel Castro had, to date, accumulated the titles of President, left on a provisional basis, in July 2006, his brother Raul, since his health problems, Prime Minister, first Secretary of the Cuban Communist Party and Commander in Chief of the armed forces. Several scenarios are possible. It may or may not be candidate for the Presidency, give up the post of Prime Minister which in practice is already the case , Parliament... Another hypothesis, Raul Castro becoming President, Carlos Lage, man key to power, relatively young and highly respected in Cuba, became Prime Minister and Fidel remains first Secretary of the CCP.

But even if nothing spectacular clear from these elections, this does not mean that the movement of transition will be halted, so it is true that in Cuba, is often things are saying. However, it is clear that, for eighteen months, it is Raul Castro and his team and not Fidel shaping domestic policy and who run the Government. Fidel Castro writes. He, moreover, recently said that he is clings not to power even stating "that he lacked physical ability to talk to the inhabitants of the district who proposed him as member of Parliament". We are therefore already after Fidel.

Is there a willingness to change at the head of the power

Absolutely. Even if the desire to reform is hampered by two constraints. The first is the willingness of the power not to give support to American interference. Do not forget that Washington has created a "Commission for the transition in Cuba" led by an American and who deems acceptable transition if the two Castro brothers departed from power! This alone would be enough to freeze the process.

The second is related to the desire to avoid any division in the leadership team. The ratio of forces is very unstable in the State apparatus between the reformers and the other.

In any event, Raul Castro, which is a much better Manager than his brother, already printed his mark. From a political point of view, there is a greater tolerance in intellectual and cultural circles. Economically, Raul announced "structural changes" that should primarily affect agriculture. The objective is to leave a larger space to small farms. The grip should be loose also for the self-employed. It must be said that there is urgency: the conditions of daily life of Cubans much deteriorated, whether it is housing, transportation or food. The population is very tired, double parity of the peso has increased inequality and Raul Castro knows it. But the reforms will be slow and gradual to not compromise the stability of the regime because the power is haunted by the manner in which the Soviet Union collapsed.

What are the margins of manoeuvre of Cuba to conduct these reforms

The regional and international context today is rather favourable. Oil aid of the Venezuela is obviously crucial, but failover left a part of Latin America has also offered Cuba's support and solidarity active many Governments or, at least, the benevolent neutrality of other. Even Mexican President Felipe Calderon, yet close ally of Washington, wants to restore cordial relations with Cuba. This creates a protective curtain to the US.

At the international level, the very intense commercial cooperation with China, including biotechnology, is a valuable development engine. Finally, it is almost sure today that there is oil of good quality in the Gulf of Mexico off the Cuban coast. It is a hope for Cuba reduce its oil bill. The unknown, it is therefore the evolution of the reports to the head of State. The outcome of the US presidential election will be also.