The Castro Regime Finally Has an Expiration Date: 2018

Categories: La Habana
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Time to queue up the Calle Ocho parades, roll out the gigantic Cuban flags for the mass rally at Marlins Park, and get some security guards in front of Versailles ASAP before the revelers get all hopped up on coladas: The Castro regime officially has an end date. ¡Felicidades!

OK, as with all things Castro, there's a Fidel-sized catch in the good news. Raúl Castro will still run the country for another five years. Miami's old-timers will have to hang on until 2018 to see a Castro-free Cuban regime.

On Sunday, Raúl Castro was elected, as expected, to another five years as president by Cuba's rubber-stamp National Assembly. But he used the stage to announce the surprising news that it would be his last term.

Speaking to an audience that included Fidel Castro making a rare public appearance, Raúl announced a "gradual transformation" including handing top jobs over to "new generations."

Raúl even put an official stamp of sorts on the possible successor to the Castros: Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermúdez, a former minister of higher education announced as Raúl's top deputy.

In Cuba -- where time stopped in 1959 and an 81-year-old taking over top office was considered a coup for the youth movement -- those moves alone amount to a serious policy shift. But Raúl didn't stop there: He also announced plans to push for term limits for top leaders and an age cap for the presidency.

"[This] represents a definitive step in the configuration of the future leadership of the nation," Raúl Castro told the assembly.

What it actually amounts to is a typically sluggish directional shift by a pair of brothers who might not be alive in five years. The New York Times describes Raúl's speech as an "unsentimental goodbye" to government, but that farewell still has another five years left to play out.

As for Cuba's leader-in-waiting, Bermúdez is a "technocrat," the Times reports, known for his loyalty to the Castros and his skills as a top-level government manager. Translation: He'll continue Raúl's gradual reforms toward capitalism, but don't expect a free-market avalanche once the Castros head for Cuba's version of Century Village.

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Lexy Semino
Lexy Semino

Arranca pa'ya entonces, Jenn...who's stopping you? Leave the Wal Mart and McDonalds behind and live in pristine, beautiful Cuba.

Juan R. Pollo
Juan R. Pollo

Jenn, if you like it so much, why don't you go live there? I don't see a lot of immigration into Cuba. Cuba did well under the Soviet Union because it was maintained by the Soviet Union. It is now maintained by Venezuela. The regime is not self-sustainable. The Castro's 5 year expiration date is wishful thinking, it won't last that long.

Jenn EV
Jenn EV

as far as i could understand it 70s-80s cuba was strong. castros cuba only failed after the soviet union fell. you can thank/blame america for that. you can also thank/blame the state of cuba today on the US embargo itself, so dont get it twisted. so what if castro, as a rebel leader didnt want a corporate american type of cuba? you think batista was a better dictator? america hates competition, and once 2018 comes around you will have plenty of mcdonalds and walmarts just like all the cuban immigrants have grown accustomed to. its sad really that not one cuban immigrant can actually accept having castro in power single handedly saved the natural environment. cuba is pristine by far in comparison to other countries who have fallen victim of corporate greed. if batista stayed in power im sure all the cargo and cruise ship traffic would have polluted your beautiful island. vaya con dios todos los ignorantes.

Jesse Nevel
Jesse Nevel

Long live Fidelismo! Death to US Imperialism!

Danny Diaz
Danny Diaz

Cubans can expedite this process by an overthrow of that communist regime. Just ask the middle east with the fall of many tyrants last year.

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