Back From the Future: Cuba Under Castro

Back From the Future
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A protester carrying an American flag runs through Havana's revolution square on May Day ahead of a government-sponsored parade as plainclothes Cuban security agents try to catch him. International human rights groups criticize the Cuban government for repressing internal dissent. Cuban officials say the island's dissidents are "mercenaries" paid by Washington to stir up trouble. A worker at the Partagas factory in Havana sorts some of Cuba's famed cigars to ensure that each box contains tobacco of the same color. Cuban cigars are still rolled by hand as they have been for generations.

For years, Cuban cigars were banned in the US, but as part of his shift in policy toward Cuba, President Obama changed the law to allow US citizens to bring habanos back from trips abroad. A young Cuban girl in her "pioneer" school uniform lights a candle at a Havana church days before the visit of Pope Francis to Cuba. Religion was all but banned following the Cuban revolution, and Catholics in particular faced government discrimination for openly practicing their faith.

Over the last 20 years, the Cuban government has slowly eased restrictions on religion. In , Raul Castro, a longtime atheist, said meeting the Pope made him consider returning to the Catholic church. Now 86 years old, Raul Castro will step down as president of Cuba on April 19, Although he will remain as the powerful first secretary of the Communist Party in Cuba, Castro says it is time for the next generation of supporters of the Cuban revolution to take power.

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For years, many Cubans speculated that Raul Castro's daughter Mariela -- a member of the National Assembly and advocate for gay and transgender rights -- or his son, Alejandro -- a colonel in Cuban counterintelligence who represented the island in secret talks with the United States -- would be the next Castros to take power. Fidel Castro's son commits suicide. Inside a Cuban cigar factory. The moniker came from low-level government employees who found out the hard way that at any hour Diaz-Canel could show up unannounced to inspect whether workers were actually on the job and not pilfering supplies or taking a nap.

That fastidiousness and willingness to work around the clock may be key assets in Diaz-Canel's new position as president. Few people expect much to change in the only Communist-run country in the Western Hemisphere, at least not right away.

Back From the Future : Cuba Under Castro

He was seen frequently with Fidel Castro, whom he described as being like a father to him. A look Fidel Castro's life Cuban leaders say they are "perfecting" their revolution while resisting external pressures to open the economy and political system. Even though Raul Castro, according to Cuban government officials, plans to move to Santiago de Cuba, the city where his brother Fidel was buried, he will still exercise a large measure of control over the Cuban government and have the final say on important decisions.

JFK's 'secret' doomsday map revealed. This week marks the anniversary of the Cuban government victory over CIA-trained Cuban exile forces at the Bay of Pigs, a highly symbolic moment for Castro to step down and for his replacement to be chosen in the secret vote by the National Assembly. Stacked with members of the Cuban Communist Party, the only political party allowed on the island, and fervent supporters of the revolution, the National Assembly nearly always votes unanimously for the proposals made by the top Cuban leadership.

Despite their efforts to join the National Assembly, government opponents have either lost or not been allowed by the government on the ballot in municipal elections. Even as Cuba's economy struggles and officials tweak the island's economic model with little apparent success, there was no transformational leader waiting in the wings. Fidel Castro Fast Facts. On 15 April , Douglas B bombers with false flag markings attacked airfields outside Havana and in Santiago.

Then came the invasion from the sea. It was a debacle from the start, with instructions going awry and the counter-revolutionaries getting lost and entangled in the harsh mangroves along the coast. The invasion was crushed, Castro had won a crucial victory and the Kennedy administration suffered a humiliating defeat.

Now it is stronger than ever. But if they really want to hear the story of what happened that fateful week, they should probably leave the museum and find Dolores Fis. One of her daughters lives next door and a nephew lives opposite. Now 84, her stories are unique and spellbinding. I interviewed her shortly before President Obama visited Cuba in They had to break into an abandoned house to grab what little food they could. From Oriente, from Camaguey, from Havana, from everywhere to live here. Although the government has frozen the issuing of new business licences for almost a year now, tourist accommodation remains the easiest way for many Cuban families to break into the private sector, and earn much more than their state wages without having to invest a fortune to covert their homes.

He began as a chef in the state-run hotel near the beach but moved into the private sector when one of the most successful casa particulares in the town was looking for a manager.

It left the southern coastline basically untouched but Jimmy thinks the television images of the storm gave the impression of chaos across Cuba and put off people from visiting. And Europeans, well, we hope they keep coming. Our instructor, Rey, takes us out to the largely undamaged reef. A group of Canadians enjoy investigating a sunken boat.

Back From the Future: Cuba Under Castro

Two decades ago, Fidel essentially considered foreign tourists a necessary evil, a useful way of bringing in much-needed foreign currency. That has already brought some noticeable economic inequalities, a challenge the next president will have to bear in mind. Some of those who work in state-run enterprises of the tourism sector are keen to spread their wings and set up their own businesses.

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Privately-owned diving shops, for example, are currently prohibited under the strict economic rules. This model suits the state.

As the sun goes down it casts long shadows across the beach at the Bay of Pigs. Groups of tourists lounge under the palm trees, sipping on cold beers or drinking Cuban rum out of coconut husks sold by the locals. Few looking on the scene can fail to reflect on the invasion of tourists - an obvious metaphor, but an accurate one. Across the country, people dutifully turned out to cast their ballots for members of the national assembly.

In turns painted as a moderniser and a stalwart hardliner, he is the first non-Castro to govern the island since Sounds straightforward enough. But in reality, on the ballots cast by Cuban voters there was exactly the same number of candidates as seats in parliament - Last year, a number of dissidents and opposition figures attempted to stand as municipal candidates, including members of a group called Otro They claim they were prevented from registering their nominations through repressive tactics by the police and state security officers.

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Barely five days after the historic agreement with President Obama to re-establish diplomatic ties, there was a genuine sense of expectation in the air. The message was simple - political continuation. Today, that practice has largely ended. In its place is a system of control under which critics and independent journalists are frequently held under short-term arbitrary detentions.

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A decade after the Cold War's end, those who worship and loathe Fidel Castro are still debating the Cuban revolution's legacy. Susan Eva Eckstein is Professor of Sociology at Boston University. She has authored many books and most recently co-edited Struggles for Social Rights in. Back from the Future: Cuba under Castro [Susan Eva Eckstein] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Susan Eckstein describes how and.

Few can doubt that there were some on both sides of the Florida Straits who had their misgivings about improved relations between the US and Cuba. On the Miami side, the thaw was loudly decried by the standard-bearers for anti-Castro policy, in particular Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

On the Cuban side too, there were plenty of ideologues who were uncomfortable with the sight of the US president visiting Havana, the old enemy now playing nice on Cuban soil. He spoke of families - pulled apart by decades of hostility - being reunited amid a new spirit of friendship. A number of hard-line elements in the government strongly agreed with him and wanted to push back against the growing tide of pro-Americanism on the island.

The rapidly deteriorating relationship was then complicated further by a chapter straight out of a spy novel. More than 20 US diplomats in Havana began to suffer unexplained health problems, everything from hearing loss and nausea to mild concussion. Havana has denied any knowledge of the incidents and says the entire episode is a combination of cover story and mass hysteria. The intention was, they claimed, to undo the recent goodwill and justify a more hostile diplomatic and political relationship with the island.

Either way, the US drew down its staff in Havana to a bare minimum and today relations could barely be further from the heady years of thaw during the Obama administration. One could argue very little. Certainly the most committed revolutionaries continually insist that everything will be fine. That the Cuban Revolution is in safe hands and that, in essence, everything will carry on as before.

Independence, instability, and continued U.S. intervention

It is undoubtedly true that no future government in Cuba would dare meddle with the key pillars of the revolution, especially the free healthcare and education or subsidies to the rural poor.