12 Jun Díaz-Canel as a rejuvenating president?
| Madrid | 11 de Junio de 2018
The same specialists who a few years ago touted the renovation that Raúl Castro would usher in during his time in power now make the same claim with regards to President Miguel Díaz-Canel. It is these specialists’ mission to instill hope. They are professionally optimistic, and have no qualms about resorting to some very stale justifications.
They speak of “the rejuvenation Cuba’s top leadership,” and then immediately clarify that Díaz-Canel’s style was already exhibited by Fidel Castro. That is, political renewal involves picking up where the founding leader left off.
There are two features of rejuvenation that these specialists emphasize: direct, face-to-face contact with citizens, and the televising of the president’s meetings with his ministers. The first of these qualities alludes directly to Fidel Castro and his charismatic engagement of the people, and implies the timely solution of problems. The leader appears one day, listens to suggestions and requests, promises solutions, and delivers.
Where a Popular Power delegate could not come through, the solution that seemed impossible comes from the top, personally provided by the president. This is all about reinforcement and consolidation, but not of the institutions, but rather of the leader and his charisma. In other words: populism.
Televising the meetings of the Council of Ministers is also a populist tactic, as the important thing is not the proper functioning of the institution, but rather the exposition of its functioning. Pure exhibitionism.
It is, therefore, inaccurate to speak of the rejuvenation of presidential administration in Cuba today, and not only because Díaz-Canel mimics some of Fidel Castro’s vices, but because the comparison is not entirely fair. His management, hitherto, has been more akin to that of Celia Sánchez, Fidel Castro’s assistant, dedicated to solving the problems of people in the name of the Revolution and its leader; one who, in the case of Díaz-Canel, is another Castro.
Cuba has a new president, but very old problems. No matter how much “rejuvenation” Díaz-Canel strives to contribute, the solution to these problems requires, first, that the president not be overseen by such an archaic figure.