HAVANA – Cubans are left orphaned by the death of their leader and patriarch Fidel Castro, an icon for the militant left across the world whose vision Raul Castro plans to continue under a well chalked-out strategy that paves the way forward.
In 2006, an ailing Fidel Castro surprisingly gave up power to his younger brother after ruling with an iron fist and strong socialist values for 47 years.
The transfer of power was smooth, and those who predicted the end of a “Castro Cuba” were proved wrong as the younger Castro seemed sure-footed about which direction he wanted to take the revolution, according to analysts consulted by EFE.
Raul has been more reformist than Fidel and has made changes that were unthinkable during the Fidel era: opening an emerging private sector against a centralized economy, attracting foreign investment against the nationalization of companies, and a thaw in ties with the United States in contrast to the lashing out at Yankee imperialism that the older Castro was known for.
“Cuba is going to continue on the road of economic reform and a more open foreign policy started by Raul Castro. He is clear about where the future of the island lies and what changes should be made,” former Cuban diplomat Carlos Alzugaray told EFE.
According to Alzugaray, Fidel’s death may help to spur some changes urgently required by the island, and which Raul had put on the back burner to avoid a major confrontation with his brother, who died on Nov. 25.
The physical absence of Fidel on one hand combined with the election of controversial United States presidential-elect Donald Trump prepare the ground for Raul to hasten reforms long sought after by many Cubans.
In his latest reflections, which were increasingly sporadic, Fidel Castro did not hide his displeasure over the resumption of ties with the U.S., the enemy of the Revolution and whom he called “capitalists and imperialists.”
However, Raul Castro has followed the path of reconciliation and still maintains continuous dialogue with the U.S. in several areas, continuing to strongly urge a lifting of the trade embargo and waiting to hear the unpredictable Trump’s vision vis-a-vis Cuba.
“I hope Trump is intelligent and sees that the Cuban government is willing to move ahead. The relations with the island has gone well with most Americans, except for a small group of anti-Castro exiles,” Cuban Communist Party member and academic Esteban Morales told EFE.
For Morales, Trump’s anti-Cuban stance was nothing but a last moment opportunistic electoral strategy to get the votes of those exiled, and when the time comes he will act like the businessman that he is.
The implications of Castro’s death within the country will not be very traumatic, given that 10 years ago he delegated power to his brother, and that was “the most complicated transition, plagued with uncertainties,” said Morales, a militant Communist.