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The next steps in Cuba and the United States after Raul Castro’s retirement

Raul Castro’s resignation as First Secretary of the Communist Party officially ended the Castro era in Cuba. The Yamil Lage / AFP Cuban Castro dynasty via Getty Images has officially ended. On April 16, 2021, Raul Castro, the younger brother of Fidel Castro, a longtime leader of Cuba, abandoned his position as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, one of the most powerful positions in Cuba. Castro, 89, became President of Cuba in 2008 after his brother’s incapacity and took over the role of first secretary from Fidel in 2011. Fidel Castro died in 2016. Departure of Castro. Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz Cannell, who took office in 2018 after Raul Castro resigned, has resisted the call for democratic reform and has economic problems and pandemics to manage. So is his American counterpart, President Joe Biden. The White House recently said Cuban policy is “not a top priority.” Neither leader is likely to endanger his political future with bold diplomacy. However, young Cubans continue to move away from government policies and priorities, laying the foundation for a different relationship with the United States. It’s no longer a threat. Raul Castro’s retirement coincided with the 60th anniversary of Cuba’s military victory over the United States in the Bay of Pigs. .. Cuban troops used Soviet anti-aircraft guns to thwart a US-backed invasion of the Bay of Pigs in April 1961. Getty Images AFP On April 17, 1961, CIA-backed Cubans launched an invasion to defeat Fidel Castro. .. Cuban troops quickly defeated them and humiliated the Kennedy administration. Cuba soon formed an alliance with the Soviet Union, America’s greatest enemy at the time. The United States responded with a strict trade embargo. In the 60 years since then, US-Cuba relations have alternated between hostile and freezing, with a brief thaw under President Barack Obama. Fidel Castro’s Cuba supported left-wing rebellions and Soviet allies in Latin America and around the world, from Nicaragua to Angola. In 1962, Castro installed a Soviet missile in Cuba, allowing it to target the United States about 100 miles away, putting the United States and the Soviet Union at risk of a nuclear war. Today, Cuba is still a communist and, along with Iran and North Korea, remains on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. But losing patrons like the Soviet Union does not pose a danger to the continental United States or its allies. Cuba does more than frustrate the U.S. President by helping Latin American leaders who resist American power, such as Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro and Bolivia’s exiled former leader Evo Morales. you can not. Entrepreneurship, Cuban Style The Cuban people have changed as well, according to my 20 years of research and trips to the island. Unlike their parents and grandparents, Cubans in their twenties, thirties and forties never enjoyed a lasting and functional contract with the administration. Mature Cubans during or after the so-called “special period” of the 1990s when Cuba faced economic collapse rely primarily on the government to provide specific services such as health care and education. However, they know that people cannot be fed, dressed, or contained except in the most basic ways. Young Cubans have to struggle to survive-or the Spanish verb for “solver” or “solve”, but in Cuban it refers to feeding a family. And the hustle and bustle of Cuba is bending the capitalist. In 2008, Raúl Castro’s government cut public salaries and allowed Cubans to earn private income in the hope that they would make more money and generate more tax revenues. .. Previously, all jobs in Cuba, whether grocery stores or architects, were government jobs with government-regulated salaries. Today, according to official statistics, about one-third of Cubans are privately employed. However, the actual percentage is almost certainly higher. Almost every adult Cuban I know has its own business, whether it’s cutting hair or renting a house as a bed and breakfast, in addition to traditional government-regulated jobs. .. Cuban Resolution Meanwhile, the government has begun to abolish subsidies that have long defined Cuban life. The staple food rations are disappearing, and prices are being subsidized accordingly. Food prices have risen sharply in Cuba, and the queue of government-run markets can be long. Yamil Lage / AFP via Getty Images Over the past year, food and clothing costs have doubled or tripled in Cuba. Utility bills have risen four or five times. Cuba’s state salaries have risen since economic liberalization, but not so much. As a result, many Cubans operate outside the law, trading everything from clothing to scrap metal and gasoline stolen from the state. Cubans call people who run illegal businesses “bisneros”. Whether it’s a statutory restaurant owner or a black market bisnero, Cubans run their businesses to be “solvers” rather than rich. They want to improve their lots moderately, allow families to eat a wider variety of fresh foods, and save money for their children’s birthday parties. Cuba “makes us criminals just to make a living,” said Carlo Rodriguez, a 26-year-old restaurant server in Havana. Intergenerational division The old Cubans remain true to Cuban’s vision of Castros as an anti-imperialist, anti-American outpost. But revolutionary slogans like “socialismo o muerte” (“socialism or death”) do not resonate with young Cubans. Fidel Castro visits Moscow, Russia in 1964. TASS young Cubans via Getty Images also want freedom of speech. Cubans can and do so personally, but the Cuban government has long restricted civil liberties. Journalism is largely state-sponsored, and when the story criticizes the administration, some independent newspapers in the country run into problems. Social media has recently become legal in Cuba and has become relatively popular. Last year, the dissident artist movement organized through WhatsApp gained enough popular support to force the government to negotiate unprecedented freedom of expression in Cuba. The crackdown continued and some dissidents were imprisoned. However, the demand for freedom of expression continues among young Cubans. [Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter.] According to a 2015 survey, most Cubans also want a closer relationship with the United States. The shopkeeper’s friend Tony told me that American money has been “like gold” on the island since the adoption of a single currency fixed to the US dollar last year. What prevents Americans from spending money on the island is the US sanctions, where former President Donald Trump severely restricts travel to the island rather than the Cuban government. Cubans know this, and they are resentful of the embargo to make their lives miserable. However, young Cubans also recognize Cuba’s sick centrally planned economy as a problem. Meanwhile, Cuban-Americans favored Trump. A recent poll showed about 45% support for maintaining the embargo, up 10 points from two years ago. Such feelings make it more difficult for Biden to initiate his own Obama-style “thaw”. But they cannot stop the change of work in Cuban society. This article has been republished by The Conversation, a non-profit news site aimed at sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by Joseph J. Gonzalez of Appalachian State University. Read more: Cuba’s economic predicament could fuel the next US immigration crisis 60 years after the Bay of Pigs Invasion. It will benefit from this article and does not disclose relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.