Are the Military in Cuba Becoming the Rulers of Economy?
Raúl trusts his military comrades more than the Party bureaucrats. In the difficult days ahead, military discipline, productivity and efficiency must prevail. The Cuban regime is relying on repression to control Cubans' growing unhappiness.
But why this sudden shift and new austerity measures? One explanation is the declining prices of Cuba's exports, primarily nickel, and reduction in Cuban-American remittances. There is also exhaustion of revolutionary fervor, low productivity, increased corruption and widespread malaise in Cuban society.
Yet perhaps the major reason for the increased militarization is a possible reduction in Venezuela's petroleum shipments to the island. Venezuela's largesse may be in decline. Chávez may have notified Raúl that the unsustainable level of Venezuelan support to Cuba may be cut in the future.
This explains Raúl's recent trips to Angola and Algeria and his cozy-up to Russia and Iran, all petroleum exporters. Not that these countries are going to provide Cuba with Venezuela's terms of large credits with little payment. But Cuba's economy would not suffer a repeat of the catastrophic crisis that followed the 1990s collapse of communism and the end of Soviet subsidies.
For the Cuban people the end result is more austerity, more militarization and more suffering. Raúl's recent statement that ``he wasn't elected to dismantle communism in Cuba'' also indicates a desire to cling to failed political and economic policies. While an opening to the market and a relaxation of the totalitarian system may improve life in Cuba and even entice the Obama administration to relax the embargo and travel ban, Cuba's military leadership seems more reluctant than ever to change.
Source: Miami Herald