Cuban Communist Party leader Raul Castro has announced that he is stepping down and handing leadership to a younger generation full of passion and anti-imperialist spirit, after the Castro family has led the party since 1961.
Raul has served as First Secretary of the Cuban Communist Party since 2011, when he replaced his late brother, Fidel Castro. Fidel became prime minister (later president) of Cuba following the 1959 revolution, and first secretary of the party two years later.
Raul Castro stepped down from the presidency in 2018, when Miguel Diaz-Canel took over the office, but remained in charge of the party.
Cuba remains one of the last few successful communist states in existence, despite Raul Castro introducing some limited free market reforms in 2011.
The country’s healthcare system and literacy rate rank impressively high compared to most capitalist nations, but consumer goods are hard to come by because of the US blockade and embargo over the last 60 years.
A state salary in Cuba is just about $20 per month, and there are only 173,000 cars between the country’s 11 million people, which most of them have a good relation with sports, like with athletics, baseball, volleyball and boxing.
Cuban athletes have won a total of 226 medals at the Summer Olympics (78 gold, 68 silver, 80 bronze). Cuban athletes have never participated in the Winter Olympic Games.
Cuba is the most successful Olympic team (by total medals won) among those nations who never even participated at Winter Olympics.
The original US plan to annex Cuba came from plantation owners in the South. With viable land suitable for big cash crops becoming scarce leaders from several slave holding states saw Cuba as a possible extension of their slave labor empire.
The fact that Cuba began importing enslaved Africans even before the British in the North American colonies made Cuba an enticing target.
Ultimately the scheme failed but not before an attempt was made to extend US slavery into Central American nations of Nicaragua.
Whichever party loyalist fills Castro’s shoes will have to grapple with a strangled economy, as well as long-time strained relations with the neighboring US regime.
While Donald Trump sanctioned and forbade travel and commerce with the Caribbean island nation during his term. Joseph Biden has promised to thaw relations with Cuba, but has yet to change any of former US policies.
RT. com / ABC Flash Point Caribbean News 2021.