Thursday, April 21, 2011

Leadership void a worry in Cuba

Leadership void a worry in Cuba
Thursday, April 21, 2011
The Record

HAVANA — Raul Castro has begged patience from those seeking a
generational change in Cuba, saying the country still lacks young
leaders with the experience to take the revolution forward 52 years
after he and his brother came to power.

But observers say that the Castros have only themselves to blame, and
that a history of cutting the legs out from under promising politicians
has marked their rule almost from its inception.

"The lack of confidence Raul feels in young apparatchiks is based on the
fact he doesn't understand their impatience or the speed at which they
want to accelerate" economic and political change, said Eduardo Bueno,
professor of international relations at Mexico's Iberoamerican
University. "The founding generation is extremely closed, and this ethic
has served to discredit young leaders."

Raul and Fidel have often criticized the young for a lack of
revolutionary bona fides, saying that what they had was handed to them,
rather than earned through valiant struggle.

The generation gap was never more apparent than at this week's Communist
Party Congress, when Raul named elderly revolutionary figures Jose Ramon
Machado Ventura, 80, and Ramiro Valdes, 78, as his principal deputies.
Three relatively young politicians were elevated to the 15-member party
leadership council, but in lesser roles.

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