Unsurprisingly, Raúl Castro announced his resignation as party leader at the Congress of the Cuban Communist Party. According to the 89-year-old Raúl, the brother of the late former President Fidel, it is time to transfer power to the younger generation.
But does this mean the end of Castro’s rule?After Fidel Castro passed away at the end of 2016, Yuribert Capetillo Hardy produced the VPRO documentary Cubana Castro. He said: “Actually, the title is wrong because the Castro regime still exists.” “As long as Raul is alive, he is responsible.”
Correspondent Marc Bessems thinks so too. “Raul will continue to be strong behind the scenes. He has been preparing for retirement for many years. He appointed and prepared a new generation to take over.”
Capetillo Hardy grew up in Havana, the capital of Cuba, and wanted to leave the country when he was young. “With the help of a TV antenna, we can see American commercials. I saw various chocolate ads, such as Kit-Kat’s. We didn’t know. Then my goal became: Eat Kit-Kat.”
He went to Holland when he was seventeen. Capetillo Hardy said that Cuba has hardly changed since then. And because of the US sanctions and the corona pandemic, the situation on the island has worsened because tourists are staying away.
Reporter Besems said: “Tourism is the engine of the Cuban economy.” “The regime itself has admitted that the economy has shrunk by 11%, so they are in a very difficult time.”
Capetillo Hardy’s family also noticed this. He said: “The government has opened stores all over the country, and you can buy everything at very high prices. It’s like a supermarket with bread, cheese and ham.” However, it is only carried out using MLC: Moneda Libremente Convertible. You can enter the store only when you make the payment. A new currency was created to stop trading in U.S. dollars and euros on the black market.
Capetillo Hardy said: “I sent my father money so that he can buy vegetables. But he can’t withdraw the money.” “He can only spend with his debit card in stores that only accept MLC.”
Due to the economic crisis, the Communist Party cannot avoid talking about reforms during Congress. Many agricultural reforms have been announced this week. For example, you can now slaughter a cow and sell meat under certain conditions.
Besems said: “Almost everything in Cuba is state-owned property, including a dairy cow.” “If you want to sell meat, it is not so easy. They have now relaxed some regulations. Farmers can now sell under various conditions. It’s beef. It’s just a small step.”
Yuribert Capetillo Hardy’s father is satisfied with this small step. “They hope to make Cubans happy again for the time being. They succeeded.”
Cuba is the first United States to develop as many as five vaccines to escape the coronal crisis. The research is now in the final stages of two of them. The regime expects to start vaccination soon.
According to correspondent Marc Bessems, Cubans want to get tourism back on track. “There have been discussions about vaccine tourism, so you can book a vacation to Havana and get a free injection from Cubans. This is also good news for Cuba. That little Cuba is one of the few countries in the region. Such a vaccine.”
‘The system forces you to survive’
But Yuribert Capetillo Hardy is skeptical. “It’s very dramatic. Cuba has an excellent propaganda machine, and the rest of the world is easy to fall. At the same time, my father and grandfather have no medicine or food. People don’t have any income. It survives every day.” He Emotionally speaking. “Cubans have no room to think about the future. The system forces you to survive every day, so you cannot look to the future.”
Capetillo Hardy has a pessimistic view of the future of the motherland. “Recently I watched a movie about the Second World War. I saw many young people die. I suddenly cried because I thought of Cuba. The hope for freedom. I have seen many people die from that hope .”