Cuban President Raul Castro has announced that he’ll officially leave his role as the communist country’s leader On April 19, 2018 — a move that will be significant in that, for the first time in six decades, a Castro likely won’t occupy the presidency.
But while the 86-year-old leader is planning to exit his post, he will still be the head of Cuba’s Communist Party, which effectively rules the nation. Castro has been at the presidential helm since 2006 after his brother, the late Fidel Castro, quit due to health problems; Fidel Castro died in Nov. 2016, as ABC News reported.
It is speculated that Cuban Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel will become the next president. And if this happens, not everyone is convinced that life will change all that dramatically inside the Caribbean country.
Skepticism is especially high after leaked video of Diaz-Canel from last February showed him lashing out at Cuban dissidents as well as independent media, pledging to shut down a website known as OnCuba, The Miami Herald reported.
Diaz-Canel called the outlet “very aggressive against the revolution” and added that the government close it down. Clearly, it seems the penchant for restricting opposition forces would still be in force.
“We are going to close its digital platform. And let the scandal ensue. Let them say we censure, it’s fine,” he said. “Everyone censors.”
Castro was initially only supposed to stay in power until February, but has delayed his exit until April, citing the impact of Hurricane Irma as the reason for the delay. There is some speculation, too, that he could be trying to improve the Cuban economy before his exit and is, thus, buying himself more time to do just that.
Author and commentator Humberto Fontova, though, told Faithwire that he believes the entire transfer of power plan is a “huge farce” that will be perpetuated by a media that he believes “the Castros have had firmly in their pocket since 1957.”
Fontova, who was born in Cuba, went on to say that he believes Castro will retain his power no matter what.
“Even after Raul ‘retires,’ he remains head of the Communist party (real power source in Cuba) and his son Alejandro (a KGB-trained colonel in Cuba’s Secret police) will be running Cuba behind the scenes,” he said. “Diaz-Canel will be a pathetic eunuch figurehead — utterly powerless.”
Fontova added, “Nothing will change.”
Only time will tell what will unfold if and when Castro vacates the presidency.