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Is The Rule Of The Castros Finally Over After 58 Years?

A five-month-long transition process has begun in Cuba that will supposedly end with the retirement of Raul Castro as president of Cuba. Local elections will be held for city, municipal, provincial, and national positions throughout the country this month. The monolithic Cuban Communist Party, (which is the only legal political group), will choose who will lead them further into the 21st century. Raul had announced a couple of years ago that he would step down in 2018 and hand over the reins to someone else. that would mean that a non-Castro would be in charge of the country for the first time since he and his brother Fidel Castro deposed dictator Fulgenico Batista in 1959.

The successor is probably going to be vice-president Miguel Diaz-Canel. He’s 57, (young by Cuban leader standards), and is a hardcore Castro loyalist. In a video, (that was probably leaked by the government), he promises to crack down on dissidents and keep the reforms coming albeit sloooowwwwllly. I was kind of hoping that Raul’s daughter Mariela Castro Espin was going to assume the mantle. She’s a huge women and LGBTQ rights activist and leans more towards reform. Maybe in another 58 years the macho culture of Cuba will be ready for a pro-LGBTQ woman in el palacio presidential.

Raul will probably still be the head of the Cuban Communist Party just like his brother Fidel was after he abdicated power nearly 10 years ago. For Cuban-Americans like my family this news is bittersweet. On the one hand the family that has single-handedly ruled the country for decades will officially be out of power but the system they created, for better or worse, will continue. As a child, my family always said that when Fidel died or retired that no one would follow Raul and the system would collapse. That turned out not to be the case. Then they said that when Raul died or retired that the system would fall. We’ll have to wait and see what happens next year.

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