Friday, May 2, 2008

Hints of Change Under New Castro

Cuba: I am curious about the new changes and rules under Raul so far. It looks like a change towards an economy just like China.

Since finally succeeding his ailing 81-year-old brother, Fidel, in February, Mr. Castro, 76, who appeared before hundreds of thousands of Cubans at a May Day rally on Thursday here in the capital, has been busy with a flurry of changes. In the last eight weeks he has also opened access to cellphones, lifted the ban on Cubans using tourist hotels and granted farmers the right to manage unused land for profit.

More is on the horizon, government officials say, like easing restrictions on traveling abroad and the possibility of allowing Cubans to buy and sell their own cars, and perhaps even their homes. Each of these changes may be microscopic in contrast to the outsize problems facing Cuba. But taken together, they are shaking up this stoic, time-warped place.

Just how far Mr. Castro will be willing to tinker with the country his brother left him and what, if anything, he is using as his playbook nobody knows for sure. Mikhail Gorbachev’s attempts to reinvigorate the ailing Soviet system led to its collapse and its abandonment of Cuba. More inspiring is the mix of consumerism and pragmatic authoritarian politics that energized growth and reinforced Communist Party rule in China and Vietnam.

I wouldn't call it inspiring but I am reading a NYTIMES article so it fits the narrative. But surprisingly good article overall.

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