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Neocastroism – A Tropical Dynasty

Neocastroism: A Tropical Dynasty
A. SOSA / ANTONIO G. RODILES | La Habana | 18 Abr 2016 – 1:57 pm.

Dictatorial systems end up exercising public power like a private
company. The elite trust no one, so family and personal ties are the
only guarantee. Over the course of his protracted period in power Fidel
Castro, the founder of the Castro dynasty, monopolized all the country’s
top positions. And he consistently worked so that his younger brother,
Raúl, was the regime’s second-in-command, and its head of Defense, a key
position in the system’s structure.

In 2006, when Castro was incapacitated, Castro II stepped forward and
the system began to be promoted as the work of both Fidel and Raul, who
mustered an entourage of senior officers who supported him in
establishing the Second Front in March of 1958. But time is also running
out for him, as he needs to make way for others who are able to sustain
the structure. And that is where family is a sure bet. Therefore, Raúl’s
regime has been characterised by the visibility his family has acquired.
Gradually, the clan’s relatives have come to play public roles and
occupy positions of power.

The last of them to achieve visibility is MININT Colonel Alejandro
Castro Espín, the current ’s son. Having participated, in a
marginal role, in the war in Angola, under his father he was promoted to
personal assistant and head of the Security Commission of the Assembly
of the People’s Power, and rolled out before society at the Summits of
the Americas (SOA). Since then he has been accompanying his father on
different trips abroad, thereby cultivating a public image. When it
comes to the organisational schemes of dynastic structures, the last can
become the first.

Alejandro is raulismo’s crown prince, but in order for power to be
formally handed over to him it will be necessary to supplant a whole set
of longstanding figures, who will probably be reluctant to take orders
from an upstart. We have seen the retirement of many ageing leaders,
especially in the military, the result not only of the necessary
renewal, but also restructuring to ensure a a team more pliant to the
heir, although he probably will not exercise power from the civilian

No one can know exactly the real strategy that will be applied to keep
the system standing. Therefore, it cannot be ruled out that an anodyne
figure like Díaz-Canel will assume formal command after Raúl. The real
power would remain in the shadows, with the construction of a profile
enabling the heir to ultimately position himself with weapons at his

The family’s control of vital sectors of the country is hardly something
hidden or mysterious. Mariela Castro Espín ended up appointed the
country’s first sexologist, a kind of “First Lady” in charge of social
work for the system. She is a member of the National Assembly of the
People’s Power and all her efforts have been dedicating to covering up
and whitewashing the regime’s responsibility for years of homophobia and
repression in the name of “socialist morality.”

And Mariel’s performance does not only seek to furnish the system with a
liberal face, as sex represents an important economic sector. The sex
industry seems to stand out in Cuba, controlled by the
Government. During a trip to Holland the sexologist had praise for
prostitution. This contrasts, however, with the Cuban regime’s official
rhetoric over the years which cited to justify itself, among other
things, the need to eradicate the sex trade as a scourge of the past.

The eldest brother’s older brother, Diaz-Balart, after
being removed from his post as head of Cuba’s nuclear program, spent
some time keeping a low profile. He recently re-emerged as an authority
within the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment,
specifically in the areas of nuclear energy and nanotechnology. Castro
Díaz-Balart’s interest in science points to the economic value that it
can entail.

The elder Castro’s other son, Antonio Castro Soto del Valle, went from
being an unknown to overseeing sports medicine, and now serves as a
baseball authority. The doctor’s interests transcend the sphere of
national sports, as golf and fishing also fall within the scope of his
affairs. Perhaps in the future he will become the czar of Cuban sports,
with all this implies in terms of profits.

Another important figure is Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Callejas, who
controls the military business group GAESA. His role can be traced to
his dissolved marriage to Raúl Castro’s eldest daughter Deborah. They
say that to get anywhere in business in Cuba you have to be on good
terms with the boss, and sons-in-law also have their corresponding slice
of power in the realm.

This panorama presents us with a family willing to and convinced that it
is entitled to perpetuate itself in power. Two factors will be necessary
in the scenario it wishes to construct. First, a docile opposition that
accepts these moves as valid, or at least does not pose an uncomfortable
challenge. Second, an international community willing to accept the
elite it proposed, all veiled in a supposed spirit of changes and

After the Communist Party Congress the pieces on this board will begin
to be moved more conspicuously. Whatever happens in the next few months
will determine how this confrontation between the Cuban people and the
Castro clan unfolds.

Source: Neocastroism: A Tropical Dynasty | Diario de Cuba –

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