Home | Columns, Commentary and News | Reports | Links | About/Contact

Column 050613 Brewer

Monday, May 6, 2013

Political Change in Cuba so that Everything Remains the Same

By Jerry Brewer

Regardless of how much the Castro brothers try to reinvent their revolution, the old adage of a leopard cannot change its spots appears to be the reality within their fantasy idealism.

Raul Castro was reappointed to a second five-year term as chief of state in February, and thus he could serve until 2018. Meaning that the control of the Castro legacy of iron fisted rule over the long suffering island nation could continue at least until the younger Castro reaches the age of 86.

Yet a hunger that paints this seemingly perpetual regime with fresh hope over a rusted out political vessel, is that challenges are growing as an atrocious record on human rights in a one-party communist state limps on.

While Raul Castro and his brother Fidel continue to tout Cuba's progress in subterfugal whispers, louder voices with much more reputation for credibility are now drowning out the Castro rhetoric.

Yoani Maria Sanchez Cordero (known internationally as "Yoani Sanchez"), a Cuban blogger and journalist, has achieved worldwide accolades and popularity as she exposes many of the myths of pro-Castro supporters who claim the communist island is a peoples' paradise. 

Yoani (37) has received "multiple international awards for her critical portrayal of life in Cuba under its current government." Time magazine named her one of the world's 100 most influential people in 2008. Although she professes love for her homeland, among her abundant criticisms she often uses a metaphor, saying that Cubans get free education and health care, but while caged birds get free water they are still caged.

The most discussed world critique, beyond the misery and decades of economic failures of Castro rule and their professed world revolution, is in the well documented record of human tragedy and the abysmal human rights record. Since the early days of Fidel Castro's rule essential freedoms of association, assembly, movement and expression have been withheld from the people of Cuba, and many citizens who dared to take a stand against the revolutionary oppression have been beaten, tortured, imprisoned and/or killed. 

This record has been passed on in a sort of diabolical rite of passage to Raul Castro, who has tiptoed in perceived progress. Reportedly under his watch the Cuban government released "more than 125 prisoners in 2010-2011," but since 2012 the number of political prisoners has reportedly increased.

In January 2013 the Havana-based Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN), estimated that Cuba "held at least 90 political prisoners, compared to an estimated 50 in April 2012, and more than 200 estimated at the beginning of 2010."

What vociferously trumpets these charges and abuses is a report from March 2012 by Amnesty International, maintaining that "the Cuban government wages a permanent campaign of harassment and short-term detentions of political opponents to stop them from demanding respect for civil and political rights." It appears clear from these numbers and the record that the release of political prisoners in 2011 has shown no changes in the Cuban regime's human rights policy.

What is clear, pursuant to those voices that escape censorship by this Communist-run island's secretive citadel of power, is a continuance of constant surveillance, intimidation, harassment, and acts of repudiation against citizens who dare to speak out and demand change.

Insult was added to injury in February of this year, as to the Cuban government's subterfuge in pronouncing that all is well in the homeland. U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen reiterated the Castro's Cuba designation as a state sponsor of terrorism - reaffirming the regime's long standing threat to U.S. national security interests.

"I am relieved that the State Department spokesman stated today that it is not true that Cuba is being considered to be taken off the State Sponsor of Terrorism list. The Castro brothers align themselves with the likes of Ahmadinejad of Iran, al-Assad of Syria, Qaddafi of Libya before his death, along with terrorist groups, such as the FARC and the ETA," said the congresswoman.

Those remarks far exceed Castro sympathizers who claim that this is simply "old cold war rhetoric."

Documented threats of Cuban intelligence plots against the U.S. continue to emerge. For example, the "WASP network" consisted of Cuban spies sent to the United States "to harm our interests and kill American citizens," and the Cuban Five (WASP associates) were convicted of trying to penetrate U.S. military installations. Furthermore, Cuban spy Ana Belen Montes provided highly classified information to Cuba that was believed to have caused the deaths of U.S. servicemen and agents operating in Latin America.

Absent much needed change in Cuba, even the post-Castro tenure in 2018 has been programmed, with Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez (53) having already been named as the most likely successor. In Cuba, the president is elected by the National Assembly, and Diaz-Canel was just appointed to the number two spot - first vice-president of the Council of State.

Diaz-Canel has been a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of Cuba since 2003. His political views have been described as "hardline," and being of Marxist-Leninist persuasion.

Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global threat mitigation firm headquartered in northern Virginia. His website is located at

Share/Save/Bookmark Tell a Friend New Page 1