Is North Korea Raul Castro’s Model?
As Cuba faces a major socio-economic
crisis, General Raul Castro tenaciously holds on to power; oblivious
to the factual catastrophe of his Marxist revolution. In over six years
of controlling the government, he keeps repeating that “the Communist
party is the soul of the nation,” downplaying any expectations
of a profound economic opening that could risk his privileged status.
It is obvious that neither Raul nor any other Communist Party politburo
member can fill the void left by Fidel’s charisma. They seem to
be looking for a model to fit his leadership deficit. Could it be North
There have been some voices, friendly to the Castro regime, that have praised Raul’s style of government as pragmatic and committed to revive the collapsing economy by transferring part of the State’s enterprises to private hands and moving in the direction of the Chinese model. Yet, Raul has proved them wrong. After six years in power, Cuba resembles a prehistoric fossil, led by an incompetent, repressive and corrupt military oligarchy, buried in the past.
However, Cuba and the North Korean model are beginning to show striking similarities:
This taste for luxury is similarly exhibited by the extravagant North Korea ruling family. On July 2012, Ri Yong-ho, wife of Kim Jong-un, was spotted with a Christian Dior handbag and designer suit. Reports by those close to Kim Jong-il, previous ruler and father of Kim Jong-un, detail the dictator’s luxurious 16-car private train, stocked with all the amenities of a first class nightclub.
For the 82 year old Raul
Castro, the North Korean model seems to have the security and comfort
needed to gradually transfer power to his son Alejandro. A Colonel in
the security forces, he is already being groomed for a leadership role.
Other possible successor, General Alvaro Lopez Miera, Army Chief of
Staff, has been raised through the military ranks very close to Raul’s
*Pedro Roig is senior Research Associate at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, University of Miami. Dr. Roig has taught Cuban history courses at various institutions. Former director of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) – Radio & TV Marti. He holds a Masters of Arts degree from University of Miami and a Juris Doctor Degree from St. Thomas University. He has written several books including “The Death of a Dream: A History of Cuba” and “Marti: The Cuban Struggle for Freedom.” He is a veteran of the Brigade 2506.
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