Citizen’s Reasons 3

Razones ciudadanas 3 from Yoani Sanchez on Vimeo


9 thoughts on “Citizen’s Reasons 3

  1. SYDNEY MORNING HERALD: Raul’s revisionist Cuba embraces home sales -Robin Yapp,

    SAO PAULO: Cubans will be allowed to buy and sell homes for the first time since Fidel Castro seized power in 1959.

    It flows from the unprecedented reforms introduced by the Communist Party at its first summit in 14 years.

    Since the revolution Cubans have been allowed to swap homes only through a complicated system or pass them on to their children.

    But reforms agreed at the first congress since 1997 includes a plan to legalise property sales. Under the current system of home swaps, a culture of corruption involving ”under-the-table” payments has developed.

    The Cuban President, Raul Castro, who is Fidel’s brother, said a concentration of property in fewer hands would not be allowed but no details were given on how sales would operate.

    The plan to allow home sales was one of 300 approved by the party. They include more self-employment, cutting a million government jobs in coming years, encouraging foreign investment and reducing state spending.

    Political reform was also on the agenda. President Castro used his speech at the weekend to propose that top political positions, including the presidency, should be limited to two five-year terms.

    The changes were backed by Fidel Castro, who was president of the country for 49 years until 2008. An almost ghost-like Fidel attended the closing of a Communist Party conclave on Tuesday that marked the formal end of his era.

    Fidel, 84, smiled, clapped and nodded but remained silent as his younger brother, Raul, 79, replaced him as the party’s first secretary and warned that the reforms, though badly needed, would bring hardships.

    While the party’s first congress in 14 years renovated about half the membership of its ruling Politburo and the broader Central Committee, there was no sign of the generational change in leadership that many Cubans had hoped for.

    Replacing the 79-year-old Raul as second secretary is Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, 80 and a long-time party functionary. In the third spot is Ramiro Valdes, a reputed hardliner who is 79.

    The new Politburo, which has been cut from 24 to 15 members, has an average age of 68.

    Half of the 12 incumbents who retained their places are generals from the armed forces and Interior Ministry who are known friends of Raul, who was defence minister for 48 years.

    The Havana dissident and former MiG pilot Vladimiro Roca described it as ”the militarisation of the Politburo”.

  2. Not happy with cold bloodedly killing thousands of their countrymen, half starving and intimidating the population, and promoting suicidal economic conditions, the dynasty is not happy with its deeds and after fifty years continues to swing their ax by violating the most basic human rights of each and every Cuban, at home and abroad.

    This is unspeakable mass abuse and bullying, made possible in part by the fact that Cuba is an impenetrable island protected, aided from anyone getting there by the laws and politicians of nations around it.

    Razones Ciudadanas is becoming one of the shows I look forward to every Monday. Great program a good thing that Dr. Darsi participated so that no one feels left out of the wonders of the World Wide Web. I also enjoyed listening to Coco and the others, all of whom speak with passion and truthfulness.

  3. MIAMI HERALD: Fidel Castro attends party Congress as old guard remains in place-Raúl Castro talked of young leadership but stuck with the old guard Tuesday as Cuba’s Communist Party ended its first Congress in 14 years.=Juan O. Tamayo

    An almost ghost-like Fidel Castro attended the closing of a Communist Party conclave Tuesday that marked the formal end of his era and endorsed key economic reforms — but dashed hopes for a younger leadership amid a sea of white hair.

    The 84-year-old Castro smiled, clapped and nodded but remained silent as his brother Raúl replaced him as the party’s first secretary and warned that while the reforms are critically needed, they will bring hardships.

    While the party’s first Congress in 14 years renovated about half the membership of its ruling Politburo and the broader Central Committee, there was no sign of the generational change in leadership that many Cubans had hoped for.

    Replacing the 79-year-old Raúl as second secretary was Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, 80 years old and a long-time party functionary. Named as the party’s No. 3 was Ramiro Valdes, a reputed hardliner who is 79 years old.

    The new leadership appeared no more likely than the old one to successfully manage tough reforms needed to resuscitate a stagnant economy by allowing more private enterprise and giving more autonomy to state enterprises, among other changes.

    But Raúl’s promotion clearly represented the official end of the Fidel Era. The leader of the 1959 revolution surrendered the presidency of the government in 2008 because of ill health, and after Tuesday holds only honorary titles such as comandante.

    Tears streamed down the cheeks of delegates to the VI Communist Party Congress as Fidel entered the Havana hall and acknowledged the long applause from a party that he led since its foundation in 1965.

    Wearing a blue track suit, he needed help walking and stood but did not join in as the 1,000 delegates closed the Congress by singing the party’s anthem. The Castro brothers then joined hands and raised their arms in a salute to the audience as they walked out.

    They left behind a Politburo and Central Committee whose new membership left no doubt that the revolution’s old guard remains in control of the party, which the Cuban Constitution in essence makes more powerful than the government.

    Popular blogger Yoani Sanchez took to Twitter as the new leadership was being announced, noting that Machado Ventura’s election “is evidence of the absence of a young relief generation, the failure of the succession.”

    The Politburo was cut from 24 to 15 members — average age 68 — including 12 incumbents. The new members include two men in their early 50s who play key roles in the reforms: former Economic Minister Mariano Murillo, promoted last month as the party’s economic “tsar”, and his replacement in the government, Adel Izquierdo Rodriguez. The third was Mercedes Lopez, 45, party chief in Havana province, who replaced another woman.

    Half the 12 were generals from the armed forces and Interior Ministry who are known friends of Raúl, who was Defense Minister for 48 years. Havana dissident and former MiG pilot Vladimiro Roca called it “the militarization of the Politburo.”

    Raúl Castro also announced that about half of the Central Committee’s 115 members were changed. Twenty one of its members are generals or admirals.

    Among the newcomers was his son-in-law, Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez-Callejas, who runs the military’s many and rich business enterprises. Not on the list was his son, Col. Alejandro Castro Espin, who serves as his top adviser on national security and heads a powerful anti-corruption unit.

    Castro Espin and Lopez-Callejas had been talked about as possible members of the new “younger” leadership.

    Castro also said more women and blacks were put on the Central Committee. The 48 women are three times their previous number, he said, and the 36 blacks represent a 10 percent increase to 31.3 percent.

    The increase in blacks is likely a reaction to the admiration President Barack Obama’s election sparked in predominantly black Cuba, said a Havana analyst who asked for anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the foreign media.

    Remaining on the Central Committee were several “historical” figures such as Armando Hart and Melba Hernandez, veterans of the 1953 assault on the Moncada army barracks that Cuba marks as the start of the Castro revolution.

    “There were some colleagues who, because of their years and poor health, can no longer serve the Party, but Raúl thought it would be very tough on them to exclude them from the list of candidates,” Fidel Castro wrote in a column published Tuesday.

    Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R. Fla., said she was not impressed. “The current tyrant Raúl Castro … takes over as chief of the Communist Party from the prior tyrant Fidel Castro and they announce this as ‘changes.’ Whom are they kidding? They have been in power for 52 repressive years.’’

    Havana dissident Martha Beatriz Roque agreed, telling El Nuevo Herald by phone that she “never expected any changes from the Congress, and from what I saw of it, I don’t expect any changes now.”’

    The Congress did not immediately reveal the final wording of the 311 “guidelines” for the economic reforms. They were made public last year but then heavily edited after a nationwide debate made public a wave of protests over many of the proposals, such as those to eliminate 1.5 million public jobs and the massive state subsidies on food.

    Jose Antonio Blanco, a former foreign policy analyst for the Central Committee, noted that while Raúl Castro spoke often about the “democratic” debate, the new leadership and the reworked guidelines were approved by secret and unanimous votes.

    Castro moved the Congress along with unusual speed and efficiency and joked often. When his election to first secretary was announced, he noted that he would not repeat a quip he once heard about another promotion, “Thank you. I deserve it.”

    But in his serious moment he repeatedly warned that the party’s main task now is to help carry out the reforms, which he acknowledged would need at least five years to put in place and could “challenge the unity of the revolutionary process.’’

    High oil and food prices this year already have added more than $800 million dollars to the import budget agreed on in December, he said, making it clear that other parts of the budget are going to suffer.

    His principal mission as first secretary, he said in his Congress-closing speech, “will be to preserve and continue perfecting socialism, and never allow the return of capitalism.”


  5. WALL STREET JOURNAL: Cuba’s New Guard Borrows From the Old Guard -By NICHOLAS CASEY

    MEXICO CITY—Cuba’s ruling Communist Party named President Raúl Castro as its new leader and chose an aging former guerrilla as second-in-command Tuesday, dashing hopes the party might choose younger politicians to implement key reforms to the island’s economy and introduce fresh ideas.

    At the end of the first Communist Party assembly in 14 years, Mr. Castro, 79 years old, was ratified as first secretary, succeeding his brother Fidel, who last month said he had vacated the position. The party also tapped José Ramón Machado, 80, a hard-liner, as Mr. Castro’s second-in-line.

    While the choice of Mr. Castro was expected, the appointment of Mr. Machado, a vice president and former guerrilla fighter during the 1959 revolution, disappointed those who thought the party might introduce new faces to help manage major economic reforms that are planned.
    The Cuban economy grew just 1.9% last year and the country’s top leaders, including Fidel Castro, are old men. The party summit had been seen as a key chance for party leaders to manage change before it is thrust upon them by events, be it death or demands for change by the Cuban people.

    “They’re keeping to the hard-line, ideological old guard,” said Uva de Aragón, associate director of the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University. “The problem is you can’t have Stalin and Lenin trying to be Gorbachev at the same time.”

    Reform has come slowly under the presidency of the younger Mr. Castro, who took the job in 2006 promising to change some of Cuba’s ways. Last year, Mr. Castro said the government would slash a million jobs from a bloated public sector and make it easier for people to become self-employed or open small businesses such as bicycle repair shops or hair salons.

    The first half-million cuts in public-sector jobs were supposed to have been completed by March, but the Cuban government says the layoffs appear to be going much more slowly than expected. With a tiny private sector, analysts say the Cuban leadership is struggling to figure out how to provide jobs for those laid off.

    Cuban officials are also no doubt aware of the recent turmoil in the Mideast, where a mixture of aging leaders, high unemployment and a young population—elements present in Cuba—created a wave of revolts that has toppled governments in Egypt and Tunisia.

    During the summit, the party on Tuesday named a 15-member politburo to steer future reforms in coming years. But the committee, too, was stacked with older members save for Marino Murillo, 50, the country’s economics czar and Miguel Mario Díaz, 51, the higher education minister.

    Leaders also discussed issues that would open up the island’s economy, but ended sessions without concrete policy measures, leaving most initiatives in flux. In one instance, panels supported proposals to lower tax rates as a means of encouraging entrepreneurs. They also discussed how to increase Cuba’s sugar production and pull those who don’t need food rations from the system that has been in place since 1963.

    One eye-catching proposal would let Cubans buy and sell their homes, something home titleholders have longed for.

    “It could be a huge change,” said Philip Peters, a Cuba analyst at the Arlington, Va.-based Lexington Institute. “If it goes into effect then those who have titles will suddenly have equity. That could be used as collateral to start a business.”

    Cuba’s decision to keep its old leadership, however, leaves the pace of these changes in doubt. While Mr. Castro criticized the party for not having groomed a younger generation of leaders—even suggesting term limits to ensure handovers—critics say Havana will stay in the same hands for the foreseeable future.

    “Leaders are trapped by age, history and ideology,” Ms. de Aragón said.

  6. Now that one is retired, the other will shortly give way to the young wolfs of the party. Many times in history the aging leader give up his power so he can survive. The new generation of “leaders” will be more sofisticated in the art of repression & opression.
    This last congress wasn’t about changes to benefit Cuba, it was about changes to preserve the status quo of the rebolution.
    I think the young wolves forced this “changes” onto the old guard in a win win situation: the old ones save face & a place in their revised history, the wolves gain power & control to continue to oppress & exploit Cuba & her children while presenting to the gullible world a “new face” of tolerance & reform …
    “We aware of turds bearing gifts”

  7. REUTERS: Raul Castro, Machado elected top Cuba party chiefs-By Jeff Franks
    HAVANA-Cuba’s ruling Communist Party was to unveil on Tuesday its newly elected leadership at the end of a congress that approved wide-ranging reforms to the island’s struggling Soviet-style economy.

    President Raul Castro, 79, was expected to succeed older brother Fidel Castro as party first secretary but the other posts will be closely watched for possible new blood to replace ageing leaders in one of the world’s last communist states.

    Former President Fidel Castro, 84, who had already said he had relinquished the first secretary position five years ago, made clear he would not accept any party post.

    Cuba’s highest political body and only legal political party on Monday selected its new first and second secretaries, its Central Committee and powerful Political Bureau, but the results were not immediately announced.

    There had been speculation Fidel Castro might be given some sort of honorary party title, but he wrote in a column in state media published on Tuesday: “I think I have received too many honours. I never thought I would live so many years.”

    “Raul knew that I would not accept at this time any position in the party,” he wrote.

    The elder Castro held the top job from the party’s founding in 1965, but said last month he had resigned, without disclosing it publicly, when he fell seriously ill in 2006.

    The former president was chosen as a delegate to the congress, but has not attended.


    While the reforms approved are the biggest changes to Cuba’s economy in decades, the leadership issue has loomed large at the four-day gathering since Raul Castro said in a speech on Saturday the party was considering limiting future leaders, including himself, to two five-year terms.

    Fidel Castro ruled for 49 years before formally resigning the presidency in 2008. Raul Castro was his defence minister during that time and succeeded him as president.

    A number of others in the leadership are in their 70s and 80s. The age issue is a concern because President Castro wants to make sure Cuban socialism survives after the current generation is gone.

    Fidel Castro mentioned the proposed term limits in his column, saying it was one of the issues at the congress that most interested him.

    The congress’ approval of the package of more than 300 reforms had been widely expected because some have already begun, including the slashing of more than a million government jobs, allowing more self-employment and leasing state land to private farmers.

    The reforms aim to cut spending by the debt-ridden government, cut subsidies, give more autonomy to state enterprises and encourage more foreign investment as part of a general overhaul of the economy.

    In two of the bigger issues for average Cubans, the food ration all have received since 1963 will be phased out for those who do not need it and the buying and selling of homes will be permitted for the first time in many years.

    Cubans are waiting to see if the government puts heavy restrictions on the latter.

    Cuba’s only political party is supposed to hold a congress every five years, but this was the first since 1997.

    (Editing by Pascal Fletcher and Mohammad Zargham)


    Raul Castro named 1st secretary of Cuba’s Communist Party, Fidel not included
    Published 55 minutes ago

    Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro reads a ballot paper before casting his vote during the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) 6th congress at his residence in Havana April 18, 2011.

    Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro reads a ballot paper before casting his vote during the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) 6th congress at his residence in Havana April 18, 2011.
    Paul Haven Associated Press

    HAVANA—Raul Castro was named first secretary of Cuba’s Communist Party on Tuesday, with his aging brother Fidel not included in the leadership for the first time since the party’s creation 46 years ago.

    Despite raising hopes during the gathering that a new generation of leaders was poised to take up important positions, Raul announced that Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, an 80-year-old longtime confidante, would be his No. 2.

    Ramiro Valdes, a 78-year-old vice-president, was named to the No. 3 spot. Several younger people were added to the 15-member leadership group, but in lesser positions.

    Fidel Castro, 84, made a surprise appearance at the gathering, receiving thunderous applause from the 1,000 delegates assembled in a vast convention centre in the capital, Havana.

    Many could be seen crying as he was helped to his place on stage by a young aide, then stood at attention next to his brother during the playing of Cuba’s national anthem.

    The revolutionary icon, who wore a blue track suit over a checked shirt, looked unsteady on his feet as he clutched the aide’s arm, and at times slumped in his chair. But he became more animated as the proceedings continued, especially when Raul’s name was read out by a party official announcing the members of the party’s Central Committee.

    That larger group is tasked with picking the leadership council. For the first time since the party’s founding in 1965, Fidel was not included in the names of Central Committee members, which were called out alphabetically.

    Each newly elected official stood up, revealing a mix of young and old, including many women and Cubans of African descent. There were also a number of generals and other senior armed forces officials.

  9. Very well done!
    Reinaldo is correct!
    We have to exercise our rights otherwise we are all victims of the repression.
    The procedure use by the regime is one of intimidation. We can see it many times. They intimidate people that are exercising their rights. With the use of force or placing them temporally in prison.
    If we all continue to push the repressive wall for our right it will eventually break.

    That wall is made of fear.
    Loose fear and the wall will disappear!

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