» Media Coverage

Experts: New Cuban leadership will have to offer results
By - -

Yahoo!  News. 


New York, April 24, 2007 (AP) - The new Cuban leadership that replaces Fidel Castro will have to base its legitimacy on tangible results, since it will probably not have the revolutionary leader’s same charisma, said a group of experts in Cuban issues. 


The group – comprised of Carlos Saladrigas, co president of the Cuba Study Group; Mary Ellen Iskenderian, president and general director of Women’s World Banking; and Orlando Gutiérrez, national secretary of the Cuban Democratic Directorate – spoke on Tuesday at the headquarters of the Americas Society. The topic was perspectives and methods of facilitating the transition toward a democratic government in Cuba, without committing the errors of other Latin-American countries that abandoned their dictatorships, but continued with deep social inequalities. 


The conversation was moderated by José W. Fernández, legal co president and partner for Latin-American issues for Letham & Watkins LLP. 


For Saladrigas, banker and businessman, a transition that facilitates the opening of markets and the codification of the right to the property is going to need capita most of all, beginning at the level of micro-loans because, contrary to other countries, "Cuba’s population is highly qualified, culturally and professionally, and with an enormous talent and initiative for business". 


He recognized that although in Cuba a very limited system that recognizes housing properties exists, “there are sectors among the exile community that have not renounced ownership of those same properties, to which they attribute, in many cases, a sentimental value superior to the economic value and that, in some form, they will have to reconcile with its present occupants. It will be a task that is legally difficult but not impossible." 


Gutierrez insisted that change should proceed from civil society in its entirety. The presence of the dissident movement and religious groups, especially evangelical Christians, has been increasingly important lately.


Gutiérrez stated that there is a military and counter-intelligence sector in Cuba, of which little is known outside the island, but which is critically important in the daily matters of the country. 


"This sector knows what it has done, and has seen what happened with Pinochet in Chile, with Milosevic in Serbia and with the military coup government in Argentina and is not willing to have the same fate.  It cannot change the facts of the past, but it thinks it can shield itself from possible responsibilities that change would bring about. And the best way for them to achieve that is for any change to be made in order perpetuate the regime’s power, rather than to adopt a democracy in a literal sense, especially in economic terms", warned Gutierrez.


As far as Raúl Castro, the national secretary of the Cuban Democratic Directorate says that "if he even succeeds his brother, or whoever does, they know that they will have to base their legitimacy on the ability to obtain tangible results, because they are conscious that they do not have the charisma of the revolutionary leader nor would it be sufficient." Charisma, in his opinion, has been the most powerful reason Castro has maintained power, "not only repression or the police system of informants". 


Translated by the Cuban Democratic Directorate 

Send by E-mail | Printable Version

Directorio Democrático Cubano
P.O. Box 110235
Hialeah, Florida 33011
Tel. 305-220-2713

© Copyright 2006 Directorio Democrático Cubano. All rights reserved.