Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Clean Sweep and Old Promises

Clean Sweep and Old Promises / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar

14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 22 November 2016 – In the next 40
days, before the end of the year, the Cuban Communist Party must hold
its second Central Committee Plenum and approve the final version of the
documents issued by their most recent congress. It is expected that
there will also be a meeting of the Council of Ministers and a third
session of the 2016 National Assembly of People's Power. These three
events will mark the beginning of the last year of Raul Castro's
government, and the deadline for the fulfillment of his pending promises.

Not included in this list are details such as the glass of milk he
promised every Cuban in July of 2007, or the eradication of the invasive
marabou weed from the Cuban countryside, the unresolved problems of his
administration which include ending the dual currency system,
eliminating the rationing system, ratifying the United Nations human
rights covenants – signed by Cuba but never ratified – and achieving
efficiency in the state socialist enterprise.

The list of outstanding promises also includes producing food that is
affordable to Cuban wallets, achieving the necessary volume of foreign
investment, promulgating a new electoral law, and ensuring that wages
become the main source of income, as well as leaving behind the
conceptualization of and a viable program for, an economic, political
and social model for future generations.

In this regard, only the theoretical commitments appear to be on track
to be completed, while the unconcluded debts of Raul Castro's mandate
are exactly those that would directly impact citizens' lives. Although
the conceptualization never moved beyond an intellectual exercise, the
program to 2030 rests on conjectures and promises for which Castro will
have no opportunity to respond.

In the coming months, there would have to be a surge in the average
private enterprise and the opening of the wholesale market so necessary
to satisfy the demands of workers in the private sector. The countdown
for the ending of unearned freebies and inflated payrolls is entering
its final minutes.

Before the conclusion of his time in the presidential chair, Raul Castro
has the responsibility to adopt measures that will lessen the emigration
hemorrhage, structure an effective plan to address the demographic
problem, and finally bring before parliament a law to regularize same
sex relationships.

Before handing over power, Fidel Castro's younger brother should
decriminalize political dissent and propose a dialog so that the
different viewpoints gaining force in the country can seek consensus to
avoid more dramatic confrontations.

Will the general president bring such a demanding agenda to a
conclusion, or does he intend to leave such tasks to his successors?

In the more than 400 days left to him as president of the Councils of
State and of Ministers, Raul Castro will be forced to pick up the pace.
Time, implacable, is running out. In the final stretch that remains of
his mandate he will no longer have space for experiments or leisurely
actions. There will be no pause, but much haste.*

*Translator's note: Raul Castro promised to update the country's
economic, social and political model "without haste, but without pause,"
and the phrase has become a centerpiece of his tenure.

Source: Clean Sweep and Old Promises / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar –
Translating Cuba -

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