Five years after the death of Fidel Castro, the Cuban regime faces the grandchildren of the revolution

Five years after the death of Fidel Castro, the Cuban regime faces the grandchildren of the revolution
Five years after the death of Fidel Castro, the Cuban regime faces the grandchildren of the revolution

Five years after the death of Fidel Castro, the Cuban regime faces the grandchildren of the revolution

Five years after the death of its “Lider maximo” Fidel Castro, the Cuban regime is confronted with the revolt of the “grandchildren of the revolution” and a population lacking in horizon tired by the persistence of economic difficulties.

The images of the millions of “grateful” Cubans who accompanied on a 900-kilometer route on the island, between Havana and Santiago, the ashes of the “Comandante” who died on November 25, 2016 at the age of 90, are now distant.

Sick, Fidel had left the orders to his brother Raul in 2006 after 47 years in power. The latter, after having initiated a process of economic opening, then ceded in 2018 the reins of the presidency to Miguel Diaz-Canel, then in 2021 the control of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC).

But the Cuban revolution (1953-1959) never found a second wind. The “sons of the revolution”, who are in their 70s, are retired and the “historical” leaders appear only in the obituary column of the Granma newspaper, the official communication organ of the CCP.

Miguel Diaz-Canel is faced with the uprising of a youth, now endowed with the power of social networks with the arrival of the mobile internet, who demands more freedom of expression.

Because a new generation has burst onto the political scene after Fidel’s death. These are the “grandchildren of the revolution”, aged 30 to 40, who represent 13.5% of the 11.2 million inhabitants.

They demand political representation against the single party in power, the possibility of individual fulfillment, and no longer adhere to the romantic calls for resistance to American imperialism which had moved their parents.

The new “variable” in “this complex context has been social protest,” said Cuban economist Pavel Vidal of the Javeriana University in Colombia.

Many “grandchildren” gathered in the San Isidro movement, which led to the unprecedented rally outside the Ministry of Culture in November 2020.

Then came the historic mass protests of July 11, followed by a new rally attempt that the authorities managed to quell 10 days ago.

“My generation is close enough to our grandparents to understand their history, but far enough historically not to be anchored in history and be able to think about the future,” Raul Prado, a 35-year-old photographer told AFP. years.

Using the strength of the mobile internet which only landed on the island in 2018, Cuban youth see the gulf separating them from the archaic official ideological apparatus which rehashes worn-out slogans.

“Not finding political space in our country and not considering a possible future, they will soon become the generation of migrants,” predicts Raul Prado.

– “Not the same ideas” –

The difficult living conditions on the Caribbean island heightened the feeling of anger. “These five years have been very complicated for the economy,” said Vidal, recalling the 11% drop in GDP in 2020, the largest since 1993, and the runaway inflation that led to shortages of food and medicine. .

To this is added “the escalation of sanctions under the administration of (Donald) Trump which continues under (Joe) Biden, the impact of the infinite crisis of the Venezuelan economy and the pandemic”, notes the academic .

The government attempted to respond with a monetary reform in January resulting in a significant rise in income. The minimum wage has increased from 400 to 2,100 Cuban pesos (from 17 to 87 dollars) but the reform has led to an uncontrolled increase in prices.

In 10 months, inflation was 60% in the formal market, but in the informal market it climbed to 6,900%, according to official data.

The return of tourism, once the pandemic has been brought under control, is eagerly awaited. The increase in the price of nickel, one of Cuba’s most important exports, and the capacity of the pharmaceutical industry capable of producing and exporting vaccines and medicines, are the lifelines hoped for to keep the country afloat. .

But for Pavel Vidal, an economic improvement will not be enough as long as the government does not recognize that “a significant part of the population does not share the same ideas as the Communist Party”.

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