Fidel Castro’s resignation as Cuba’s chief of state was no surprise. Since he fell ill in the summer of 2006, his brother Raúl has been in control. Bush, McCain, Obama, Hillary and the usual suspects have issued the usual hypocritical statements about the need for “democracy” and “human rights” in Cuba, playing to Florida’s powerful Cuban right-wing exile leadership. But none of this can hide the fact that the U.S. base in Guantánamo, Cuba, has become a synonym for torture and violations of human rights. (Of course, capitalism’s “democracy” means various sections of the ruling class control all political parties and give the working class the “choice” of which bosses’ agents will exploit them, lead them to war, abolish social services, push racism and cut wages and jobs.)
Despite all the anti-communist rhetoric by the U.S. bosses and their media, the reality is that the top Cuban leadership is already making changes that are more openly capitalist. Cuban rulers are following the Chinese or Vietnamese “road,” where the old party bureaucracy remains in political control but encourages more and more capitalist investments. Even when Fidel was in full control, there were many more imperialist investments in Cuba’s tourist and energy industries from Europe, Canada and Asia.
There even are many U.S. politicians and capitalists who want to end the embargo on Cuba — which has been a total failure — and allow U.S. companies to invest there, particularly in newly-discovered oil deposits off Cuba’s coast. Even with all that, it’s doubtful that the right-wing Cuban exiles and U.S. imperialism will again control Cuba as occurred before the 1959 revolution.
Already, the Cuban government is allowing open discussions of problems facing their economy and political life. Recently a CNN video showed young students demanding of Raúl Alarcón, a top leader, more access to foreign traveling and the internet. Even though Cuba doesn’t suffer the extreme poverty prevalent in the rest of Latin America, there’s still a lot of inequality between those who have access to foreign currencies and those who don’t.
For Cuban workers and youth, these changes from the top might offer a few consumer crumbs, but they won’t bring freedom from capitalist exploitation. Capitalism worldwide is a system in crisis, which only offers imperialist wars, mass unemployment and fascist/racist terror. A new communist movement is needed, learning from the errors and achievements from the revolution here and worldwide. That is the only road to real freedom for workers and youth.