Interestingly, Fidel Castro, who made a rare appearance at the National Assembly session yesterday and gave a wide-ranging interview to Cuba's Communist Party daily Granma earlier this month, does not exactly seem bowled over by his brother’s big change agenda, referring to the Revolution as the “change” that matters most. While the elder Castro assures this is all just a bit of fine-tuning, the consistent message to the Cuban people from the younger Castro now in charge is clear: Cuba is changing, it is (slowly) modernizing, and perhaps most important of all, that Raul Castro himself can be trusted to follow through – however slowly at times – with the reformist policies he endorses.
While there will no doubt be ingrained skepticism among many Cubans - and Raul Castro himself makes sure not to take it too far, promising no return to capitalism in Cuba, for example – many Cubans will see the leadership changes that took place this week as a sign that more changes still are on the way.
It’s thus jarring to see how disconnected US policy is from the changes afoot in Cuba today. As one of the Cuban government’s most vocal critics, blogging sensation Yoani Sanchez (who is now traveling in Brazil, thanks to Raul Castro’s migration reforms), put it: The US embargo of Cuba is “a fossil of the Cold War that does not have any sense in the modern world in which we live."
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