Cuba set for a New Head of State: New leader, new ideals?
In the northern hemisphere, we can sum up resistance against the capitalistic machine in one word – Fidel. For more than 50 years, the renowned socialist leader piloted a state of contradiction that demonstrated the possibilities of both social and economic alternatives to the private enterprise model. Although, the dream of the revolution continues to be implemented after the death of El Comandante, the reigns are set to transition next month into the hands of another leader that does not bear the Castro name.
The question on many minds throughout the globe, in particular among the Cuban people, must be, ‘What next?’ During a recent People-to-People journey, into the cultural depths of Cuba, students from the University of Massachusetts Boston, were able to hear firsthand the ongoing conversations that many Cubans are having regarding the considerable changes that may be looming upon the palm-lined horizon.
“Como sera, quien sera?” – ‘How will they be, whom will they be?’ the repetitive statement made by Louis, a local Guantanamero of Jamaican descent, when pondering about the future of his precious homeland. There is debate whether the next Cuban leader will be able or willing to have the capacity of sacrificing themselves, as the Castro’s keenly carried out, with respects to their financial status, personal lives and overall self-interests, while wholly investing their being into the guardianship of Cuba.
Flags emblazoned in remembrance of July 26 littered buildings all across the island, from prominent Santiago to the hustle and bustle of Havana, signifying that the memory of a five decades old revolution, continues to live on. But, can a change in the head of state continue to push Cuba into the 21st century while maintaining the socialistic values that are at the core of the country’s values? Or will a foreseeable invasion of capitalism take over the final stronghold of socialism in the Americas?
Even further, will a newly elected leader, outside of the Castro family, be considered negotiable in the eyes of global governments that have maintained an unwillingness to create sustaining political relationships with the Caribbean nation? There are many unknown variables as to what can be in the plans for the future of the ever-prideful island that has stood against the imperialistic powers of the world.
A key takeaway, from the various political conversations had with Cuban citizens, is the fact that a beautiful sea of black and brown faces are the decision-makers in electing the new direction their country will be undertaking. Cubans are well-versed in not only their political history but diligently allot time in order to engage in civic engagement. For instance, our faithful guide Louis stepped away from hosting our group, in order to vote in local elections.
Black and brown citizens of a country are choosing their own leader to serve the common good. Clearly, a form of government where black residents are actively involved in the political process can operate, albeit functioning at half-capacity, due to sanctions from capitalistic entities that have not allowed the country to develop to its full potential. Nonetheless, Cuba has managed to maintain its stability, creating exports of the greatest minds in medicine and education, into other countries.
Cuba, along with many other countries around the globe, are at a precipice of change. There are transitions occurring that will forever transform the impending course of how transnational relationships among nations are to develop in the near future.