The face of Cuban government is changing, with no more Fidel-Castro-loyalists enjoying the trappings of power, according to reports.
In a bid to increase governmental efficiency, eight ministers from the Fidel-era were replaced by others loyal to Raul Castro, President of Cuba, and brother to the ailing Fidel. Foreign minister, Felipe Perez Roque and Carlos Lage were considered younger generation Cuban politicians, and in the reshuffle, they lost their positions, reports Reuters. Perez Roque was a former personal secretary to Fidel Castro and later rose to become Foreign minister.
Cuban experts agree that these changes reflect the personal stamp of Raul Castro as he strives to put his own people in positions of power. Meanwhile, a senior Republican, Senator Richard Lugar is calling for a rethink on the relationship between the US and Cuba in the light of recent leadership changes. In a report released last month, Lugar stated that the travel and remittance embargoes on Cuba must be lifted. The report points out that there have been some changes in the country, like allowing citizens to own cell phones and computers. Though these were small steps, they certainly pave the way for bigger ones.
Naturally there are dissenters who think that the regime change will not result in any real improvements in the lives of ordinary Cubans. Florida senator Mel Martinez believes that these ‘insignificant steps’ should not be viewed as a precursor to major improvements. He said, “This is a cruel, totalitarian repressive regime that has their people suffering under the most inhumane conditions.”
An international group of thinkers, diplomats and academics have urged President Obama to take the initiative in reviewing Cuba-US policy, according to a report by www.forbes.com. A more interactive and intelligent approach to relations with the communist nation is needed, they said. The usual mix of embargoes and diplomatic isolation is no longer effective. More cooperation and travel between the two countries is the need of the hour, the group concluded.