By Carlos Alberto Montaner
In December, shortly before the end of 2019, the regime announced that the National Assembly of Popular Power had elected a Prime Minister, “unanimously,” of course. Manuel Marrero Cruz was appointed to lead the Cuban government. Miguel Díaz-Canel, on the other hand, will preside over the State.
Marrero is a 56-year-old architect with a florid beard and easy smile, a former army colonel whose last assignment in civil life had been that of Minister of Tourism, a position he has occupied for four decades. It is not clear if all
political power will swing towards his hands, as in the type ofrelationship that existed between Fidel and Dorticós (Fidel was unequivocally the one who gave the orders) in the period that both shared the leadership of the nomenklatura (1959-1976), or if he has been appointed only to put order in the Cuban administrative mental asylum, starting with the monetary disorder.
Will Marrero be the Island’s Adolfo Suárez?
Because of his age, Marrero did not participate in the fight against Batista, or in the fighting against the rebellion of the peasants in the early sixties, and he was very young during the invasions of Angola or Ethiopia in the eighties. So he did not internalize the myths on which the fantastic account of the revolution is based, a story that has a strong testicular component alongside an ideological one.
Along with King Juan Carlos, Adolfo Suárez led the ending of the Franco regime. He was a young man who had climbed to the main positions of the regime through the usual resources left by Francos 39s dictatorship –simulation and double standards. He was a total reformer, but in pectore, who had not participated in the Civil War or in the construction of the National Catholic State that Generalissimo Francisco Franco had erected after his
Cuba and Spain, or Castroism and Francoism, have great differences, but they are similar at least in one aspect –-both societies have lived completely divorced of the official discourse. Except for some deranged individuals and a
handful of nostalgic people, the vast majority of Cubans do not believe in communism today, as in 1970, when I went to study in Madrid, the young Spaniards laughed at the Movement founded by Franco after his military victory in 1939.
It is logical.
Franco and Fidel’s claim that their regimes be extended sine die is laughable. The Francoists could at least claim that the Spaniards had substantially improved their ways of life since the end of the Civil War. (The GDP per capita was 80% of that of the European Economic Community when Franco died in November 1975.)
The Castroists, on the other hand, have failed absolutely, especially in the material field.
Fifty seven percent of homes are a ruin. The streets and sewers too. Electricity, drinking water, food, medicines, clothing, footwear are scarce. Communications and the Internet are horrible. Transportation is hell. Salaries are
ridiculously low. Why? Because of the economic model chosen by Castro, the State Military Capitalism, directed and planned by the uniformed ones that revolve around Raúl Castro.
That does not work or will ever work, as Marrero, Díaz-Canel and the infinite majority of Cubans know. How and when will this nightmare of abuses, shortages and failures end?
In 1977 the London Times asked that same question to Bernard Levin, its star editorialist, in relation to the USSR and its satellites, when almost a decade had passed since the Warsaw Pact’s invasion led by Moscow against the small Czechoslovakia.
When no one had heard of Mikhail Gorbachev, Levin wrote that one day a man without direct links to the founding mythology of communism or the Second War would arrive at the Kremlin, and that he would make reforms to save the system, but he would not succeed.
At that time, the thirst for justice of the peoples subjugated by Moscow, and the decency that nests in people’s hearts, would be able to peacefully eliminate the communist oppression. Levin was right even when he predicted the time frame of these events – they would occur in 1989.
Will Marrero and Díaz-Canel be Cuba’s Adolfo Suárez and Juan Carlos?
I hope they are. Otherwise, we will have to wait for those who succeed them at the helm of the government and the State, but I have no doubt that this day will come. This is how totalitarian regimes change.
One day they begin to die starting at the head. As happens to snakes. Carlos Alberto Montaner is a journalist and writer. Born in 1943 in Cuba and exiled, Montaner is known for his more than 25 books and thousands of articles. PODER magazine estimates that more than six million readers have access to his weekly columns throughout Latin America. He is also a political analyst for CNN en Espanol. In 2012, Foreign Policy magazine named Montaner as one of the fifty most influential intellectuals in the Ibero-American world. His latest novel is A Time for Scoundrels. His latest essay is "The President: A Handbook for Voters and the Elected." His latest book is a review of Las raíces torcidas de América Latina (The Twisted Roots of Latin America), published by Planeta and available in Amazon, in printed or digital version.