1. Vidboy10

    OP Vidboy10 Tsardom

    Dec 15, 2008
    <div align='center'>[youtube]lDct8Xc-mqQ[/youtube]
    <!--sizeo:1--><span style="font-size:8pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->Al Jazeera explains the situation<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--></div>
    <p align=" " class="none">Fidel Castro has applauded brother Raul's speech proposing major economic changes and term limits for Cuba's leaders, a key vote of confidence in the direction his brother is taking the country.
    In an opinion piece published on Sunday, the 84-year-old Cuban leader also apologised for not attending a military parade, which marked the 50th anniversary of the failed CIA-led invasion at the Bay of Pigs.
    "It has been worth the trouble to have lived to see today's events, and it is worth the trouble to always remember those who died to make them possible," Fidel wrote.
    He added that he felt proud of the direction his brother was taking the country and felt "the same feelings of pride" when he heard Raul's speech and saw the faces of the 1,000 Communist Party delegates who attended the speech.
    Castro missed the parade at Revolution Plaza because he was not feeling well enough to endure the heat.
    "I could have been at the Plaza, perhaps an hour in the blazing heat and sun, but not three, Believe me that I felt pain when I saw that some of you were looking for me on the dais. I thought everyone understood that I can no longer do what I have done so many times before."

    Fidel handed power over to his brother after falling gravely ill in 2006, and Raul took over formally two years later.
    In the last year, Raul, 79, has pushed a limited but significant opening to private enterprise, and said the government must decrease the labour force and reduce generous subsidies that are an impediment to hard work.
    In an address to the Cuban Communist Party congress on Saturday, the Cuban president added the call for political change to his agenda, saying politicians and other leading figures should be limited to two five-year terms, a remarkable statement on an island run by him and his brother for more than a half century.
    Raul acknowledged that errors have left Cuba with no obvious successor and promised to rejuvenate the island's political class in what time he has left.
    The term-limit proposal would mean there could be no repeat of the Castros' political dynasty, but it will have little practical impact on Raul's future.
    Having been sworn in in 2008, he would be at least 86 years old at the end of a second five-year term.
    "Raul Castro's recommendation ... to adopt the principles of term limits represents an historic step toward the creation of institutional and collective forms of leadership," Arturo Lopez-Levy, an economist who left Cuba in 2001 and is now a lecturer at the University of Denver, said.
    The proposal was made toward the end of a two-and-a-half-hour speech to Communist Party luminaries in which the Cuban leader forcefully backed a long list of changes to the country's socialist economic system, including the eventual elimination of ration books and other subsidies, the decentralisation of the island nation's economy and a new reliance on supply and demand in some sectors.
    He said the party is also far along in a study of whether to legalise the sale of cars and homes, which have been all but frozen since the revolution.
    Delegates to the Congress broke up into committees on Sunday to begin debating the changes behind closed doors before the gathering's scheduled end Tuesday, presumably with another speech by Raul.</p>
    <p align=" " class="none">Raúl Castro has proposed term limits for Cuba's rulers, including himself, in an unprecedented effort to rejuvenate the island's political leadership.

    The 79-year-old Cuban president told the Communist party congress that senior positions should be rotated at least every 10 years to shake off the inertia and "self-delusion" that has crippled the economy.

    "We have reached the conclusion that it is advisable to recommend limiting the time of service in high political and state positions to a maximum of two five-year terms," he said.

    The four-day congress, which ends on Tuesday, is expected to endorse most – if not all – of 311 proposals to liberalise Cuba's stagnant, centrally planned, economy with cuts and privatisations.

    Castro sprung a surprise in a speech on Saturday, which opened the congress, by denouncing a tendency towards geriatric leadership. Veterans of the 1959 revolution dominate senior posts. The first vice president, Juan Machado Ventura, is 80 and the second vice president, Ramiro Valdés, is 77. Raúl's brother and predecessor, Fidel, 84, still retains influence.

    The congress, the first in 14 years, was likely to be the last for the Castros and their generation, said the president, adding that efforts to promote young people to top jobs had failed. "Life proved we did not always make the best choice … it's really embarrassing that we have not solved this problem in more than half a century."

    His call for systematic rejuvenation will be debated not at the congress but at a party conference in January. Raúl succeeded Fidel in 2008, suggesting he could stay in charge at least until 2018, when he would be 86. The congress is expected to confirm the president as the party's first secretary but it remains unclear whether the second secretary – and possible successor – will be from a younger generation.

    The congress, which has gathered 1,000 delegates, coincided with a parade of military hardware and hundreds of thousands of marchers to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs, when the revolution defeated a CIA-backed invasion of exiles. The stirring speeches about the continued fight against imperialism reinforced official rhetoric that liberalising the economy was about saving socialism, not abolishing it. Even so, some western diplomats in Havana say there is a Thatcherite agenda of cutting rights and welfare, and of emphasising personal responsibility and hard work.

    Across Havana and the countryside slogans on old government billboards have acquired some irony: "Revolution means the historic moment." "Revolution is to change everything that can be changed." The state, which dominates the economy, accounts for about 80% of jobs, which pay on average about $20 a month. Agriculture and industry are anaemic. Castro criticised a sclerotic bureaucracy which stifled initiative and buried problems. "No country or person can spend more than they have. Two plus two is four. Never five, much less six or seven as we have sometimes pretended."

    Of late, about 171,000 licences have been acquired for small businesses. The government hopes a partially unshackled private sector will soak up about a million state-sector workers soon to be jobless. Many formerly black-market hustlers have become legitimate traders with licences pinned to their chests. "Before I used to have a zipped bag under my shoulder and say 'pssst, want some flowers?'" said Rodolfo Mera, with a cartload of blooms. "Now the cops don't bother me."

    Castro said the universal monthly food ration, already whittled down, would be restricted to the neediest. It had become "an unsupportable burden for the economy and a de-stimulus of work," he said. He promised that Cuba would avoid "shock therapy" and not allow a concentration of property in private hands. It was unclear whether this meant a continued ban on selling cars and houses.

    "Little by little this place is opening up. It's getting a bit easier to get by," said Angel Morales, a 23-year-old who drives his father's Lada taxi.</p>
    <p align=" " class="none">Cubans mostly welcomed President Raul Castro's call at a Communist Party congress this weekend to limit the terms of island leaders, saying on Sunday it would bring new blood to the government the Castros and their aging colleagues have ruled for 52 years.

    The 79-year-old president told 1,000 delegates at the start of the four-day congress on Saturday that limiting high political and state positions to two five-year terms would help "guarantee the systematic rejuvenation" of leadership. It was not possible to do this before because present circumstances are "quite different from those prevailing in the first decades of the revolution that was not yet consolidated when it had already become the target of continuous threats and aggressions."

    The matter would not be taken up now, Castro said, but at a party conference in January. He said any limits would apply to him as well. Retired worker Cristina Mesa, 77, said Cuban leaders, most of whom are in their 70s and 80s, had finally recognized what others have seen for a long time. "It is very clear that the country has to give way to the young people and it has to trust them, there's no other choice," she said.

    "The limit is an efficient way of preventing anyone from believing they can hold on forever to a post. If they govern well, they stay, if not, they go and that has to be decided by the people." Student Laritza Martinez said the proposal came as a surprise because the Castro brothers have been constants in Cuban life since taking power in the 1959 revolution they led. Fidel Castro, who is 84 and did not attend the congress, ruled for 49 years, while younger brother Raul Castro was defense minister during the same time before taking over the presidency in 2008.

    "I didn't expect to hear that. It's fantastic that in politics we'll be able to be like the rest of the world," Martinez said. "Nothing is perfect, but it appears that Raul really wants to modernize the country."
    Skeptics said they believed Raul Castro's motives were less about assuring that future leadership will not become entrenched than about giving the false impression current leaders are not trying to hold on to power for as long as possible. "They're proposing this now because they know it won't affect them," said plumber Angel Garrido. "I think they plan to stay in office until they die." Laura Pollan, leader of the dissident group Ladies in White, said: "What they are doing is this -- winning time to stay in power. This a cancer that is now in its final stages." Cuba's aging leadership is a concern for a government intent on assuring the survival of Cuban socialism after current bosses are gone.</p>
  2. DSGamer64

    DSGamer64 Canadian, Eh?

    Nov 9, 2007
    Only when Castro drops dead and someone with a democratic mind takes over, will Communism officially die in Cuba. To be honest though, Cuba in recent years has turned into a bit more of a socialist state, but still a lot of people are poor and the economy is terrible there, infrastructure is basically non existent. I think when Castro finally gives it all up and lets his people have a democratic election, things like trade embargo's will be lifted and Cuba will start to become more involved in the importing and exporting of goods which will bolster their economy.
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