CUBA TALKS: Want a rice cooker? Want a DVD? Whaddaya want? I can get you anything hombre-Fidel’s gone!

2 05 2008

VIVA Cuba!!

“Just how far Castro will be willing to tinker with the country his brother left him and what, if anything, he is using as his playbook nobody knows for sure. Mikhail Gorbachev’s attempts to reinvigorate the ailing Soviet system led to its collapse and its abandonment of Cuba. More inspiring is the mix of consumerism and pragmatic authoritarian politics that sparked growth and reinforced Communist Party rule in China and Vietnam.”

So so true.

I’m pleased he wants positive changes for Cuba-not I fucking happy but the same thing is going to happen like The Soviet. He’s going too fast.

One step at a time, you can’t feed a starving a chocolate cake and plate of burgers and chips, when he’s been starving for years.

Sigh. We’ll just have to see how this pans out but I’m not too confident…

“There they were, piled up one atop another, Chinese-made rice makers selling for $70 each. Beside them, sleek DVD players. Across the well-stocked electronics store were computers and televisions and other household appliances that President Raúl Castro recently decreed ought to be made available to average Cubans, or at least those who could afford them.

Since finally succeeding his ailing 81-year-old brother, Fidel, in February, Castro, 76, who appeared before hundreds of thousands of Cubans at a May Day rally on Thursday here in the capital, has been busy with a flurry of changes. In the last eight weeks he has also opened access to cellphones, lifted the ban on Cubans using tourist hotels, and granted farmers the right to mange unused land for profit.

More is on the horizon, government officials say, like easing restrictions to go abroad and the possibility of allowing Cubans to buy and sell their own cars, and perhaps even their homes. Each of these changes may be microscopic in contrast to the outsize problems facing Cuba. But taken together, they are shaking up this stoic, time-warped place.

Just how far Castro will be willing to tinker with the country his brother left him and what, if anything, he is using as his playbook nobody knows for sure. Mikhail Gorbachev’s attempts to reinvigorate the ailing Soviet system led to its collapse and its abandonment of Cuba. More inspiring is the mix of consumerism and pragmatic authoritarian politics that sparked growth and reinforced Communist Party rule in China and Vietnam.

China is now Cuba’s second largest trading partner, and Vietnam is one of the first countries that Castro has said he will visit. Leaders from both countries visited over the last year and had sessions with both Castro brothers. Cuba analysts say that Raúl Castro, as the longtime defense minister, has maintained close ties to both countries’ militaries and has close aides who know the countries well.

“This is the Asia model,” asserted Robert Pastor, a professor of international relations at American University. “Still, the signals he has sent are so faint and so tentative that it’s not at all clear where he wants to take Cuba or where Cuba will go.””

News via International Herald.

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