Daily Office: Matins
Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The United States’ arguably unintentional campaign to preserve the Cuban Revolution until the very last historico topples into his grave just breezed past another milestone, with the appointment of the first non-Castro leader, 80 year-old José Ramón Machado.

Mr. Castro acknowledged that his generation had lagged in preparing young leaders, saying Cuba lacked “a reserve of substitutes with the sufficient maturity and experience to take over the principal duties of the country.”

Some analysts disputed that, saying Mr. Castro’s moves merely solidified his power against any stirrings from those who are young and perhaps too progressive.


Aside from being a fellow combatant during the revolution, Mr. Machado may have been an attractive choice to Mr. Castro for his role overseeing the inner workings of the party, in charge of an office approving promotions and developing ties with party leaders across the island, said Arturo Lopez-Levy, a lecturer at the University of Denver and former political analyst in the Cuban Interior Ministry.

“Machado will be a key factor in choosing not only the successor, but also the structure of separation of powers destined to replace, within the party and between party and government, the current model of ‘Castro in command,’ ” Mr. Lopez-Levy said.

“Down the road, the old leaders just gained some time,” he said. “Will they use it wisely? The congress gave some hope to the party members and the population about a serious economic reform. Now the old generation still in power would have to respond to these expectations.”