Before Raul Castro, his brother Fidel Castro ruled Cuba. Older brother Fidel has been in power for nearly half a century. He passed away in 2016.
In the same year, Ral Castro promised to resign from the leading position in the Communist Party during the upcoming party congress, which began on Friday and will last for four days.
Raul Castro, 89, is expected to do what he promised: to resign.
Thus, the powerful Cuban Communist Party will be led by Castro, whose name was not mentioned for the first time in over 60 years, the news agency writes. News agency.
A change of opinion will happen. Raul Castro and some of the last revolutionaries who did not die or surrender will now return. Anthropologist Ståle Wig tells NRK that a new generation will take charge. He lived in Cuba for several years.
Raul Castro resigned as President in 2018, but kept the position of First Secretary of the Communist Party.
The first secretary is considered the most powerful person in Cuba.
If Raul Castro fulfills his promise, incumbent President Miguel Diaz-Canel will also have a leadership role in the party.
With the 60-year-old president as party leader, it may be easier to implement long-awaited economic and political reforms.
The background to the historic party congress marks a very difficult period for Cuba, which has been hit by an economic crisis.
There are several crises on top of each other, says Wieg.
Covid-19 has eliminated nearly all tourism. Ståle Wig says Cuba has been plagued by decades of mismanagement and a non-functioning economy.
The difficult situation was exacerbated at first when former US President Donald Trump imposed new sanctions on Cuba.
Don’t believe in real change
In parallel, communist leaders on the island sought reforms. But they are accused of bad road choices, and small steps towards a market economy that have yet to improve people’s daily lives.
They will make plans for the next five years. But what are the real changes it will bring to Cubans? Many of them are sad or lost confidence that big changes can come from within, says anthropologist Stoll Whig.
– People do not have high expectations that something good will come out of the party convention. Symbolically, however, Wiig says there will be an important change.
Empty storage shelves
In addition to food shortages and empty store shelves, economic disparities are increasing.
In Corona 2020, Cuba’s economy contracted by 11 percent.
The two parallel currency system was abolished at the turn of the year, leading to a sharp jump in inflation, NTB writes.
The authorities have also gradually opened up to more private businesses.
It requires freedom of expression
In recent years, leaders such as Raؤولl Castro and Diaz Canel have opened somewhat more space for political debate and discord.
For critics of the authorities, regulation has become easier after Cubans gained access to mobile internet in 2018.
In recent months, for the first time ever, the government has held talks with activists demanding freedom of expression.
A civilian leader for the first time
Miguel Diaz-Canel gets most of the political power in his hands this weekend.
He would be the first without a military background to hold this position in Cuba since the Communist Revolution in the 1950s.
However, some analysts believe that the 89-year-old Raul will continue to play an important behind-the-scenes role in Cuban politics.