Diaz-Canel is not a reformer, can’t reform, and might not be the successor
Grais-Targow 13-Risa Grais-Targow is an analyst in Eurasia Group's Latin America practice, focusing on the Andean region. Risa holds a master's degree in international economics and Latin American studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and a bachelor's degree in political studies and Latin American studies from Bard College. Prior to joining Eurasia Group, Risa covered Latin American economies for financial clients at the Institute of International Finance, based in Washington, DC. She also focused on Latin America at the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of the Western Hemisphere and at the Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm. (Risa, “Will Miguel Diaz-Canel lead post-Castro Cuba?”, Foreign Policy, 2/28/13, http://interamericansecuritywatch.com/will-miguel-diaz-canel-lead-post-castro-cuba)//TL
Beginning what he says will be his final five-year term as Cuba’s president, Raul Castro surprised Cuba observers this week by appointing Miguel Diaz-Canel as first vice-president. At 52, Diaz-Canel is a spring chicken compared to Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, his 82-year old predecessor, and it appears generational change within the leadership might finally be on the agenda. Though Raul Castro, 81, appears in good health, Diaz-Canel would automatically assume the presidency if Castro is forced to step aside before 2018.
What does all this mean for policy? In the near-term, probably not much. Under Raul’s leadership, the government has embarked on an incremental path toward economic liberalization while keeping a tight lid on political reform, and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. Diaz-Canel seems to have been selected precisely because he is both a trusted Communist Party loyalist and a proven manager who can balance the delicate process of gradual economic opening with the need to work closely with the still-influential first generation of revolutionaries within Cuba’s politburo. Diaz-Canel, a former education minister and an engineer by training, has slowly worked his way through the party ranks. He served two years in the military and reportedly maintains close relations with top brass. He is not particularly charismatic, but, then again, neither is the man he’s now in line to replace, who assumed power after older brother Fidel relinquished the reins in 2006.
The appointment suggests the Castro regime knows it must finally address the issue of succession. Raul has repeatedly called for a “rejuvenation” of Cuba’s Communist Party but seems to have struggled to find an appropriate mix of loyalty and reformist credentials, particularly within the generation born after the 1959 revolution.
Still, there is no guarantee that Diaz-Canel will be Cuba’s next leader. Other would-be heirs — most notably Carlos Lage and Felipe Perez Roque – have been groomed for succession in the past only to fall from grace after demonstrating an excess of personal ambition or clashing with Raul and Fidel. Moreover, though Diaz-Canel has the legitimacy that comes with Raul’s backing, his last name is not Castro, and any transition will likely be challenging, particularly given Cuba’s deep economic troubles, tensions within the ruling party, and intense pressure from the international community to implement political reforms.
Still, promoting Diaz-Canel suggests that despite the Castro brothers’ seeming immortality, the regime is truly committed to “updating the model” to ensure the system they built continues after Raul and 86-year old Fidel are gone. This also includes continuing economic reforms aimed at slowly and carefully expanding the size of the private sector and reducing state payrolls.
Whether these reforms can keep the regime in power beyond the Castros, however, remains to be seen.
Diaz-Canel won’t be the heir and won’t reform
Azel, 7/16-Senior Scholar at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies (ICCAS) at the University of Miami (José, “The Illusion of Cuban Reform: Castro Strikes Out”, World Affairs, 7/16/13, http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/article/illusion-cuban-reform-castro-strikes-out)//TL
The 2006 succession from Fidel Castro to his brother Raúl, programmed since the early days of the Cuban revolution, was efficient, effective, and seamless. The eighty-two-year-old Raúl, who recently announced that he will step down in 2018, is now orchestrating his own succession behind the scenes. But however the transition from the Castro era plays out, one outcome is off the table: that Raúl will emerge as a reformer to end the Communist era and inaugurate a new democratic and market-oriented Cuba.
How Cuban communism will finally meet its demise is yet to be known, but perhaps we will find parallels in the collapse of the Soviet Union. Leonid Brezhnev died in 1982 at age eighty. His successor, Yuri Andropov, took over at sixty-eight and died less than two years later. Andropov was in turn succeeded by the Konstantin Chernenko, who died a year later at the age of seventy-four. Chernenko was then succeeded by the fifty-four-year-old Mikhail Gorbachev. It took the Soviets three leadership changes to get to a new generation with prospects for reform.
Cuba’s first vice president of the Council of State, the eighty-two-year-old José Ramón Machado Ventura, was expected to be Raúl Castro’s pro forma successor. In February 2013, however, he was replaced in that post by Miguel Díaz-Canel, a factotum-like party apparatchik in his early fifties. The international media jumped on the appointment and concluded that Cuba’s Gorbachev had arrived on the scene. But while Díaz-Canel is in line to succeed Raúl in the Council of State, this is not equivalent to being number two in the regime.
General Raúl Castro leads Cuba not because he is president of the Council of State, but because he is first secretary of the Communist Party, head of the armed forces, and Fidel’s brother. Article 5 of the Cuban Constitution makes it clear that the Communist Party is “the superior leading force of the society and the State.” It is the eighty-two-year-old Machado who remains second secretary of the fifteen-member Politburo of the Communist Party—and thus, at least for now, Raúl Castro’s heir apparent. Under Cuba’s governing succession protocol, the military-dominated Politburo is the cabal that will recommend, when the time comes, the country’s next leader.
The succession plot thickens when we consider that the president of the Council of State is also the commander in chief of the Revolutionary Armed Forces. When Raúl Castro leaves office, it is difficult to envision old comandantes like Ramiro Valdés and three-star generals of the Politburo offering their allegiance and subordinating themselves to a youthful civilian bureaucrat like Díaz-Canel. Civilian control of Cuba’s armed forces is not part of Revolutionary Cuba’s genetic makeup.
When contemplating change in Cuba, one must be mindful that for the past half-century Cuba’s history and political culture has been shaped and dominated by the Castro brothers and their ideas. Raúl Castro’s inner circle is not made up of closet democrats waiting for an opportune moment to put into practice their long-suppressed Jeffersonian ideals. Their governing philosophy is inseparable from the totalitarian ideology that subordinates citizens to the state, and the state to an unelected Communist elite. The incentive for democratic reform is further hindered because this elite profits personally from a symbiotic relationship in which authoritarianism engenders a corrupt oligarchy and that oligarchy profits from the continuation of corrupt authoritarianism.
Diaz-Canel will not be the successor and can’t reform anyways (recut with more paragraphs from the original file)
Nelson 13 – CBS4 News member, National Association of Television Arts and Sciences (Gary, Miami CBS News, “Miguel Diaz-Canel: Cuba’s Next President?”, Feb 26, 2013, http://miami.cbslocal.com/2013/02/26/miguel-diaz-canel-cubas-next-president/)//TL
MIAMI (CBS4) – When Raul Castro accepted a five-year, and final term as Cuba’s president Sunday, he reached out to a young, obscure politician, appearing to select him as his heir-apparent.
Castro referred to Miguel Diaz-Canel as his “companion” as he named him first vice-president, second in command, in the Cuban hierarchy.
Diaz-Canel is a relative youngster, just 52. He was not yet born when Raul Castro’s brother, Fidel, lead a successful revolution and began more than half a century of communist dictatorship in January, 1959.
Diaz-Canel is an engineer and served as Cuba’s Minister of Education. He has obviously won the attention and respect of Raul Castro while laboring largely behind the scenes in the Cuban power structure, a party loyalist.
“He may be the guy,” said University of Miami’s Professor Jaime Suchlicki on Tuesday, adding that it wouldn’t seem likely, however.
It is the Politburo, the same bunch that elected Raul to a new term Sunday, that will name his successor.
“They’ll get together and they’ll decide who is the next President of Cuba. Most likely it will be somebody of the military, since the military controls the Politburo,” Suchlicki said.
Even if Diaz-Canel, an immaculately dressed fellow who sports perfectly styled salt and pepper hair, should assume power; Suchlicki cautions that significant reforms should not be expected in the Cuban system.
“He is the godson of one of the leaders of the revolution. He has been nurtured in that atmosphere. He is a Marxist/Leninist,” Suchlicki said.
Should Canel fail to toe the party line he could find himself working as a “farmer in an interior section of Cuba,” Suchlicki said. “He will be constrained by the same forces, by the military, by the communist party.”
Suchlicki said the same structure that has kept the Castro brothers in power for more than half a century will fight to resist democratic or capitalistic reforms.
At the same time, the UM expert noted that Raul Castro has brought greater communication, freedom to travel and some economic reforms to Cuba that may have room to grow.
“That would certainly be our hope,” Suchlicki said
Diaz-Canel will not have any real power- the military controls everything behind the scenes-their ev ignores them
Quniones, 13-Roberto Álvarez Quiñones is a Cuban journalist, economist and historian formerly employed as an economic columnist and a chronicler with the daily Granma and with Cuban TV as a world economy commentator (Roberto, “Meet Cuba’s 14-Member Military Junta”, InterAmerican Security Watch, 3/25/13, http://interamericansecuritywatch.com/meet-cubas-14-member-military-junta/)//TL
The real power does not rest in the Politburo of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC), as per the Constitution. It rests in a small group of Generals, some of whom are not even in the Politburo. They compose a military junta invisible to the international community and to a majority of the Cuban people, as they operate behind the scenes and are not mentioned by the media. [The new Vice-President of the Council of State] Miguel Diaz-Canel does not belong to the “creme de la creme” that controls the country and that has 14 members.
Headed by the Castro brothers and by the “Comandante” (today equivalent to the rank of a General) Machado Ventura, the select group includes the island’s four most powerful Generals: Leopoldo Cintras Frías, Minister of Defense; Abelardo Colomé, Minister of the Interior; Alvaro López Miera, First Vice-Minister of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs; and Ramón Espinosa, Vice-Minister of Defense. Also, “Comandante” Ramiro Valdés and Colonel of the intelligence services, Marino Murillo, the Vice-President in charge of the “actualization” of socialism. They are all members of the Politburo.
The non-members of the Politburo are General José Amado Ricardo, Executive Secretary of the Council of Ministers (akin to the functions of a Prime Minister, the position formerly held by Carlos Lage); General Carlos Fernández Gondín, First Vice-Minister of the Interior; General Joaquín Quintas Solá, Vice-Minister of Defense; and Colonel Alejandro Castro Espín, son of the dictator-in-chief and head of the Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence Units of the Ministries of Defense and Interior. The final member has been — until recently — Colonel Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Callejas, ex son-in-law of Raúl Castro, in charge of the Ministry of Defense’s businesses. However, after his divorce from Deborah Castro Espín, it is unknown whether he will continue in this privileged position.
These are Cuba’s 14 most powerful men, whom together with the Castros, make the most important decisions. This is similar to the parallel governing structure imposed by Fidel, who created the all-powerful Coordination and Support Group of the Commander-in-Chief, which for decades was the real executive branch of the nation, beyond the Council of Ministers, State and the Communist Party.
Moreover, 8 of the 15 members of the Politburo are currently from the military (the majority), while 4 of the 7 Vice-Presidents of the Council of Ministers are from the military.
Thus, Cuba is the only country in the world that presents its military ruling class as civilian, and is accepted as such. When a General is the President of a nation without having ever been elected by a democratic vote, and governs surrounded by Generals, that is called a military dictatorship. Except in the case of Cuba, which now even presides the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
Cuba Healthcare DA
Cuba’s health care system is failing-overstretched and low on supplies
Pérez, 13 (Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez is an independent journalist and founder of the Hablemos Press news agency in Cuba, “Cracks Show in Cuban Healthcare System”, Institute for War & Peace Reporting, 1/28/13, http://iwpr.net/report-news/cracks-show-cuban-healthcare-system)//TL
As Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez receives the best treatment that Cuba’s health service can offer, most residents of the country can only dream of similar standards of medical care.
Chávez has been in Cuba since December 9 undergoing treatment for a cancer relapse. He is at CIMEQ, the Medical-Surgical Research Centre, a special hospital set aside for the political elite and foreigners. The facility is located in Havana’s Siboney area, home to politicians and top-brass military and close to the embassy district.
Such “foreigners’ hospitals”, as Cubans call them, cater for health tourists seeking treatment and plastic surgery, and for the elite. An official who requested anonymity said CIMEQ was for senior figures in the Communist Party, government or parliament; the police, intelligence and security agencies; elite scientists and anyone awarded the title “Hero of Labour”, plus their family members.
The official source said Chávez was being treated in a restricted section of the hospital known simply as “Objeto 20”.
“The medical technology there is the most advanced in the country, and only government-authorised personnel can enter,” he said, adding that if anyone else went in, “they are immediately ordered out over a loudspeaker, as everything is monitored”.
The Cuban government has always stressed the high standard of healthcare available to all, not the few. But the facilities made available to Chávez are not open to the likes of Juana Labrada, a farmworker from the San José de las Lajas municipality of Mayabeque province.
Labrada has been waiting four months for cancer surgery.
“I still haven’t received notification,” she said. “They’ve told me the Miguel Enrique Hospital has two infected wards so they can’t operate at the moment. They’ve also said that there aren’t [clinical test] reagents.”
According to Maritza Martínez, an intensive care specialist in the San Antonio de los Baños municipality, part of Artemisa province near Havana, long waits are the norm.
“Thousands of Cubans have to wait months for medical treatment, and they often have to resort to bribery to get things done,” she said.
She added that the taxes Cubans paid was not reflected either in the quality of care or in healthcare workers’ wages.
Contrary to the perceptions fostered by the government, the hospitals that ordinary Cubans go to are generally poorly maintained and short of staff and medicines. That applies even in the capital, where the Calixto García and Miguel Enrique hospitals are in an advanced state of neglect and deterioration.
Inside another Havana institution, the 10 de Octubre teaching hospital, also known as La Dependiente, cracks have opened up in walls left unpainted for years. The floors are stained and surgeries and wards are not disinfected. Doors do not have locks and their frames are coming off. Some bathrooms have no toilets or sinks, and the water supply is erratic. Bat droppings, cockroaches, mosquitos and mice are all in evidence.
Doctors at La Dependiente say the consulting rooms are badly contaminated with bacteria, and there are not enough disinfectants to clean them.
When five Cuban doctors were shown video footage of the two wards, one said conditions there were part of “a disaster on a national scale”.
All spoke off the record, because open criticism of the healthcare system would lead to instant dismissal.
Medical staff are circumspect even with their patients, giving them discreet advice about epidemics whose existence the government denies.
The authorities have yet to acknowledge the spread of cholera and dengue fever. Human rights activists believe outbreaks of the two diseases have taken dozens of lives in Cuba since June 2012. Since both are associated with standing water, cases increased markedly after Hurricane Sandy devastated eastern parts of the country in late October. (See Disease Spreads in Post-Hurricane Cuba.)
Doctors are paid poorly – even a specialist gets just over 560 pesos a month, worth less than 25 US dollars and not nearly enough to support a household. As a result, many accept “donations” from their patients.
They are also badly overstretched, a result of government policy of sending doctors overseas. In recent years, Cuba has sent over 40,000 doctors to 70 countries around the world, and the TV news is constantly reporting on their achievements in Haiti, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua and elsewhere.
Those left behind struggle to fill the gaps, working long and exhausting shifts for which they are not paid.
As Juana Labrada awaits her operation, she says, “I think I’ll have to go to Venezuela to be looked after by Cuban doctors.”
In early December, Cuba held its first international conference on public health, attended by delegates and government officials. It was an opportunity to showcase the country’s healthcare system. No one stood up to point out the failings.
Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez is an independent journalist and founder of the Hablemos Press news agency in Cuba.
Cuba is low on medicine and is losing specialized doctors- unsustainable
Balis, 7-policy analyst at the National Center for Public Policy Research (Ryan, “"Sicko" Presents False View of Cuba's Health System”, National Policy Analysis, July 2007, http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA557_Cuban_Health_Care.html)//TL
Cuba's Health Care System in Practice
Says Canada's National Post, which assessed Cuba and its health system in a three-part series:
Even the most commonly available pharmaceutical items in the U.S., such as Aspirin and rubbing alcohol, are conspicuously absent [in Cuba]... Antibiotics... are in extremely short supply and available only on the black market. Aspirin can be purchased only at government-run dollar stores, which carry common medications at a huge markup in U.S. dollars... This puts them out of reach of most Cubans, who are paid little and in pesos.11
The same National Post story continues, quoting Jasmin, a nurse from Moron, Cuba, "We have nothing. I haven't seen aspirin in a Cuban store here for more than a year. If you have any pills in your purse, I'll take them. Even if they have passed their expiry date."12
Cuban defector Dr. Leonel Cordova told the New York Times about his experience practicing in Cuba, "[E]ven if I diagnosed something simple like bronchitis... I couldn't write a prescription for antibiotics because there were none."13
Along these lines, Patricia Grogg of the Inter Press Service writes:
[A] survey carried out in pharmacies late last year [in 2000] by the local [Cuban] magazine Bohemia failed to find 211 of the medicines included on the official list of products produced to attend to the health of this Caribbean island nation's population of 11 million... 'They say scarcity of medicine is no longer such a serious problem, but I've been trying for days to buy aspirin in this pharmacy, and they always tell me there isn't any,' complained Mara Dolores Pea, a 60-year-old pensioner, outside her neighborhood pharmacy.14
In addition to a limited supply of medicine, according to a 2005 report in the Boston Globe, Cuban health care workers are in short supply:
A 45-year-old nurse in Camaguey Province said she has worked without a doctor in her primary-care clinic for more than two years since the physician was transferred to another clinic to replace a doctor sent to Venezuela. 'My patients complain every day. They want me to act as a doctor, but I can't,' she said. 'The level of attention isn't the same as before.'15
The nurse is alluding to a program in which one-fifth of Cuba's health care labor supply - some 14,000 doctors and 6,000 health workers - has been contracted out to work in Venezuela. Under a special "oil-for-doctors" exchange between Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Cuba's Fidel Castro, Venezuelans receive free eye surgery in Cuba. In return for these medical services, Cuba receives 90,000 barrels of discounted oil per day.16
Ordinary Cubans have suffered as a result. "Blackouts, shortages of consumer goods and other problems persist," wrote Gary Marx of the Chicago Tribune.17
Indira A.R. Lakshmanan of the Boston Globe wrote:
The system has suffered setbacks... since the cutoff of Soviet aid some 15 years ago, with hospitals and clinics in need of renovation and equipment, pharmaceutical costs soaring, and patients saying they must bring bedclothes, food and fans to hospitals. But complaints about a lack of medical personnel are new, dating to the cooperation with Venezuela that some observers disparagingly call the oil-for-doctors program.18
Lourdes Garcia-Navarro of National Public Radio reported:
[S]peaking privately... some Cuban patients and doctors say the system has been feeling the strain of treating the Venezuelans in their home country and on the island. Doctors say that there's a shortage of trained specialists. Most Cuban doctors now they say become general physicians and forego specialized training because what is needed in Venezuela are community doctors. Patients in Cuba complain that their hospitals are stretched and they're not getting the same standard of care they're used to.19
Finally, the Chicago Tribute reported in 2005:
At least one nurse involved in the eye operations said Cuban physicians are sacrificing quality for quantity as they hurry to complete as many operations as possible. The nurse said the number of eye operations at her hospital has soared from about 15 to more than 120 daily, and many patients fail to receive important preoperative tests, she said. The surgeries are performed round-the-clock... 'Nobody is in agreement with this, but they say that you have to do it without discussion,' the nurse said. 'The patients are being mistreated.'20
Despite shortages of medicine and care, especially since the exchange agreement with Venezuela, not all Cubans suffer. "In Cuba there exists TWO health care systems,"21 explains U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), who fled Cuba with her family to the United States when she was seven years old.22 "[O]ne [care system is] for tourists, as well as Communist Party officials, and another for Cubans, who are forced to take with them even the most basic necessities when visiting a Cuban hospital; even aspirins are scarce."23
Reports on therealcuba.com, a privately-run website that contains anecdotes, including ghastly images, of suffering anonymous Cubans cut off from the rich foreign-only facilities. As explained on the website,24 the horrors of socialized medicine are not, in fact, evenly or universally experienced:
Castro has built excellent health facilities for the use of foreigners, who pay with hard currency for those services. Argentinean soccer star Maradona, for example, has traveled several times to Cuba to receive treatment to combat his drug addiction. But Cubans are not even allowed to visit those facilities. Cubans who require medical attention must go to other hospitals that lack the most minimum requirements needed to take care of their patients.25
Are Cuba's health care woes the result of the longstanding U.S. economic embargo? Not a chance, according to a group of 18 exiled Cuban doctors. The doctors made their personal views clear in a joint letter in 1997:
We remain mystified as to why people of ordinarily good will and faith would seek to find fault with the United States for the disastrous situation inside Cuba, while failing to direct the blame squarely where it belongs - at the feet of Fidel Castro, who continues to rule our country with an iron fist after 38 years in power.26
The exiled doctors continued:
We, who have only recently emerged from the belly of the beast, can categorically and authoritatively state that our people's poor health care situation results from a dysfunctional and inhumane economic and political system, exacerbated by the willingness of the regime to divert scarce health resources to meet the needs of the regime's elite and foreign patients who bring hard currency.27
Pink Tide - dead
Chavez’s death fractures the Pink Tide movement
O’Reilly, 13– cites multiple professors (Andrew, “Hugo Chavez’s Death Leaves a Void in Latin America’s Left”, http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2013/03/07/hugo-chavez-leaves-dearth-in-latin-america-left/)//NG
As the flag-draped coffin of Hugo Chávez was carried through the streets of Caracas on Wednesday, it was not only Venezuelans mourning the loss of the firebrand former president.
For 14 years, Chávez cultivated a cult of personality and a loyal band of followers throughout Latin America due in equal to his fiery rhetoric and his generous oil subsidies. His death has left a dearth in the leadership of Latin America’s radical Left and given rise to questions about who will fill that role.
“Chávez was an outsized personality and he had the ambitions to spearhead his own Bolivarian revolution,” said Eric Hershberg, the director of Latin American Studies at American University. “There is not an obviously clear successor to take on that role.”
Thanks in part to his regional body named the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), Chávez built a close coalition of regional leaders that were sympathetic to his socialist views, including Ecuador’s Rafael Correa and Bolivia’s Evo Morales. Venezuelan oil subsidies also helped secure the allegiances of Cold War stalwarts such Cuba’s Castro brothers and Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega.
Now with Chávez death, the left-leaning answer to the U.S.-backed Organization of American States has to find a new figurehead to lead the alliance.
Some also think that the movement toward a more red left will die off with the former Venezuelan leader. Chávez helped usher in the aptly named new wave of Latin American socialism and gave the institutional precedent for leaders like Correa and Morales to come to power.
The Pink Tide of last decade, which saw the ascent of a number of left leaning leaders in the last 15 years, from Chávez to former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, could edge from the more radical side to a more moderate one now that Chávez is dead.
“Latin America’s move to the left is not completed,” said George Ciccariello-Maher, an expert in Venezuelan politics at Drexel University in Philadelphia. “There is definitely not a united left in Latin America.”
Experts almost unanimously agree that a replacement for Chávez is almost impossible, due to both his political savvy and Venezuela’s oil money. But if there was to be someone to pilot Latin America’s radical left it might be Ecuador’s Correa.
A career politician with a similar spirited style and political view to Chávez, Correa recently handily won reelection, has gained popularity for his rampant public spending and gained notoriety on the world stages for clashes with the United States – including his refusal to renew the lease on airbases used by US forces to mount anti-narcotics missions and the 2008 expulsion of two U.S diplomats.
Ecuador is also a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and relies heavily on these exports. While the country’s exports pale in comparison to Venezuela's – 334 barrels per day compared to Venezuela’s 1,553 – Correa has aggressively pushed for new contracts with foreign companies to share the income that goes to the state.
Correa also fashions his public image after Chávez, using his weekly radio and TV shows to attack enemies and push his agenda, while suppressing free press.
“Correa is ideologically very similar to Chávez and one could view him as the successor, but nobody can follow Chávez,” said Shannon O’Neill, a senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations. “There is no other leader that has both the ideology and economic backing that he had.”
Much has been made of Chávez’s working class background and his rise to power, which is in opposition to many of Latin America’s leaders – Correa included – who come from more landed backgrounds. The former Venezuelan’s so-called authenticity may be surpassed only by Bolivia’s Morales.
A former coca farmer, Morales came to power in 2006 and rode a wave of popular support to become Latin America’s first indigenous leader. Demure, pudgy and almost always dressed in his trademark sweater, Morales is an avowed socialist and a champion of Bolivia’s indigenous majority.
As one of Chávez’s closest allies, Morales seized control of Bolivia’s affluent gas fields and put them under state control soon after his election. Other changes implemented during Morales’ first term were a constitutional reform that gave more regional and local autonomy and redefined Bolivia as a plur-national nation.
Much as Chávez ran into opposition from Venezuela’s conservative factions and business leaders, Morales ran into problems with leaders from Bolivia’s wealthy eastern province of Santa Cruz, who argued his polices damaged the economy and threatened private property.
His support of the coca growers has also put him at odds with the U.S., who wants to eradicate the crop that is the base substance in the production of cocaine.
While Morales has made a name for himself inside Bolivia and in certain parts of the world, he seems be content with his work in his homeland and has not shown intentions of taking up the mantle left by Chávez’s passing.
“I don’t see any effort by Morales to project himself as a leader beyond Bolivia,” Hershberg said, adding that unlike Correa, Morales seems content with his place as a world leader.
Some experts, however, believe that Morales’ background and ability to relate to Latin America’s poor would set him up as an ideal successor to Chávez’s title as leader of Latin America’s left.
“Morales can relate to social and indigenous movements in the same way that Chávez could,” said George Ciccariello-Maher, an expert in Venezuelan politics at Drexel University in Philadelphia. “Correa has a much more difficult time with social movements.”
Chávez’s chosen successor in Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, is seen by experts as a long shot to take over his role on the global stage. His lack of charisma, inability to appeal to every facet of Venezuela’s socialist party like Chávez did and apparent lack of experience – as evidenced by his jumbled handling of Chávez’s death – all play against him.
“Maduro doesn’t have the personality,” said Susan Purcell of the Center for Hemispheric Policy at the University of Miami of the former bus driver-turned-political leader. “His crazy speech the day Chávez died shows he was trying to pick up his mantle of anti-U.S. rhetoric and it didn’t work.”
“Pink tide” is already dead
Paul, 3/19 – (Sundeep, “Chavez and the oil curse”, The Indian Express, Mar 09 2013, http://www.indianexpress.com/news/chavez-and-the-oil-curse/1085285/) //SP
But more importantly, the continued ostracism of Cuba's people -- for they, not the Havana government, are the biggest losers -- is unfair, unkind and unnecessary. If the U.S. wants full democracy in Cuba, then it should open up fully to ordinary Cubans. Tear down the artificial walls that separate the people of the two countries and, as Mao Zedong once said, let a hundred flowers bloom.
By 2008, the Pink Tide had overwhelmed nearly half of the 20-odd Latin American countries, excluding permanently red Cuba. El Salvador and Peru were conquered subsequently, in 2009 and 2011 respectively. But by 2010, Chile and Honduras had already left the fold and Brazil's Lula da Silva had made way for his protégé Dilma Rousseff. It was believed by all, except perhaps the starry-eyed hosts of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Kolkata and Delhi's JNU, that the Pink Tide was ebbing. One look at the suicidal path taken by Christina Fernandez de Kirchner in Argentina, and you can rest assured that the Bolivarian revolution will end with Chavez.
As the Argentine economy's implosion escalated, Kirchner emerged as the most zealous upholder of Chavismo. But the story of Chavez-ruled Venezuela, as expropriated by Chavistas, is also the story of what happened to Petróleos de Venezuela Sociedad Anónima (PDVSA), the oil giant the country was once synonymous with. The PDVSA, owned by Exxon till end-1975, was one of the best-run oil companies in the world even after its nationalisation by Carlos Perez. For, Perez had left its professional management untouched and allowed it to function as a private firm in practice, even though the state took the dough. But nothing would ever be the same again once Chavez took office in 1999.
To understand the significance of cash cow PDVSA to Chavismo, two facts need to be put on the table. First, whether or not Latin America's pink presidents subscribed to Chavez's ideal of exporting the Bolivarian revolution, Chavez, especially after the failed 2002 coup against him, had embarked on cultivating anybody with tuppence worth of nasty things to say about the US. Thus alliances were forged with a veritable who's who of America haters — Gaddafi's Libya, North Korea, and Iran. More importantly, the Caribbean (via Petrocaribe) and left-ruled Latin American countries were flooded with subsidised oil — some of them in fact sold part of their Venezuelan quota for a profit (the US, of course, paid market price). And at the heart of this petro-politics stood Cuba, whose moribund economy was kept alive by 100,000 barrels of subsidised Venezuelan oil a day while the Brothers Castro took over Chavez's foreign policy.
Lack of Venezuelan oil investment crushes the Pink Tide
Rathbone, 13– Latin America Editor (John Paul, “What’s Left of the Latin Left?”,
Such spending was central to Chávez’s clientelist model. Closely advised by Havana and bolstered by high oil prices, he set his sights on a pan-American “Bolivarian revolution”.
He bought Argentine debt, gave aid to Bolivia and Nicaragua, and $6bn a year of cheap oil to Cuba in return for doctors, teachers and intelligence officials. At home, he funded social projects by draining PDVSA, the state oil company and nationalising private companies, sometimes on his television show, Aló Presidente, exclaiming: “Nationalise it!”
He was not alone. Ecuador defaulted on international bonds and gave refuge to Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder. Argentina nationalised YPF, the Spanish-controlled oil company. Evo Morales nationalised swaths of Bolivia’s energy sector including the local operations of Petrobras, the Brazilian oil company . The productivity of these nationalised businesses has since deteriorated.
This created a furore that echoed around the region. The noise it generated, though, was misleading because the economies of these maverick countries amount to just 17 per cent of Latin America’s US$6tn gross domestic product. It also obscured advances made by centrist democrats.
“People outside the region overestimate Chávez’s influence,” says Malcolm Deas, an Oxford-based historian of the Andes. “Mexico is not chavista, nor is Central America – Nicaragua apart. Nor are Chile, Peru or Colombia ever going to follow his example.”
Indeed Peru is a telling example of this. In 2006, Ollanta Humala, a former army officer, ran for president espousing Chávez’s approach – and lost. In 2011, he ran again while embracing the pragmatic Brazilian model – and won. The pendulum has swung again.
Today, about half of the region’s 20 republics are centrist or centre-right. Not that this has diminished the importance of social progress everywhere. Caracas rightly boasts that it has halved poverty levels in Venezuela. Yet this performance has been repeated elsewhere, in Chile and Peru for example, without ransacking the economy as Chávez did.
The Chavista model is a busted flush but no leader in the region will publicly admit it. Nonetheless, tributes have flowed in all week. Dignitaries and world leaders, from Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad to the Prince of Asturias, have flown to Caracas to pay their respects. In Havana, the Castro government declared three days of mourning.
Much of the radical left’s grief is real, but so too is the self-interest. Because Chávez’s demise confronts it with a bind. The populist left is dominated by outsize personalities. With its most extravagant character gone, others are jostling for supremacy. That is as true inside Venezuela, where chavismo is riddled with factions, as outside.
“The space and rhetoric won’t change,” says Franklin Ramírez, a sociologist at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences in Quito. But the “map has been changing”. The main contenders for influence are two economic blocs: Brazil and its partners in the southern Mercosur trade pact, and its regional counterweight, the free-trading Pacific economies of Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile.
The second and bigger problem is that the radical economic model is unsustainable. Even with the largest oil reserves in the world, Venezuela has turned to China for $40bn of loans to keep itself going.
Economic decay may not matter to true populists. After all, “as well as handouts, their beneficiaries gained hope, a feeling of being listened to”, says Mr Farnsworth. “You can’t put a dollar figure on that. It is a revolution of the mind.”
It is an open question how long that revolution of the mind will continue if Caracas or other radical governments in the region cannot deliver their promises. That will better showcase the success of the region’s pragmatic centrists. But it will also leave the populist left struggling to stand for anything other than empty pledges and stale rhetoric.
Pink tide – aff solves
Link turn --- loosening the embargo boosts the US’ cause in the region
Tisdall, 13 – assistant editor and foreign affairs columnist of the Guardian (Simon, “Time for U.S. and Cuba to kiss and make up”, CNN, April 8, 2013, http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/08/opinion/opinion-simon-tisdall-cuba) //SP
(CNN) -- Right-wing U.S. Republicans are up in arms over Cuba again. Their ostensible cause for concern is last week's visit to the island by Beyoncé and Jay-Z, who were photographed in Havana, apparently celebrating their wedding anniversary.
These blinkered conservatives need to get over themselves. The 60-year stand-off between the U.S. and Cuba is absurd. It is counterproductive and harmful to both countries. It is time to end this Cold War anachronism, kiss and make up.
Anger over Beyoncé's supposed breach of the U.S. embargo rules restricting American citizens' travel to Cuba is symbolic of a deeper fear among right-wingers. Two key factors have changed since the days -- not so long ago -- when Washington seemed to be regularly threatening the Castro government with Iraq-style overthrow.
One is that George W. Bush has been replaced by a Democrat. As Barack Obama enters his second and final term, immune to electoral imperatives, conservatives worry he may use his freedom of action to effect an historic rapprochement with Cuba. American liberals certainly believe he should do so.
The second change is in Cuba itself, where the government, now led by Fidel Castro's brother, Raoul, has embarked on a cautious program of reform. The government -- dubbed the world's longest-running dictatorship by the American right -- has even set a date for its own dissolution.
Doing what "dictators" rarely do, Raoul Castro announced in February that in 2018, he would hand over power and that any successor would be subject to term limits. The Castro brothers have reportedly chosen a career communist, first vice president Miguel Diaz-Canel, to succeed them. But in reality, once their grip on power is relaxed, anything may happen.
The two Florida Republicans who have been making a fuss about the Beyonce visit are Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart. They are veterans, and beneficiaries, of the anti-Castro campaign that has long been waged from Little Havana, in Miami, the home to the state's large Cuban exile population. The Cuban vote, as it is known, has traditionally gone to Republicans.
But Obama's approach is the antithesis of the politics of hate and division. He broke that mold last year, making big gains among the Cuban American electorate. This result suggested the polarized ethnically-based politics of the past may be breaking down, said Julia Sweig of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations in a recent article in The National Interest.
"Having won nearly half of the Cuban American vote in Florida in 2012, a gain of 15 percentage points over 2008, Obama can move quickly on Cuba. If he were to do so, he would find a cautious but willing partner in Raúl Castro, who needs rapprochement with Washington to advance his own reform agenda," Sweig said.
Little wonder Republicans like Ros-Lehtinen are worried. If things go on like this, they could lose a large piece of their political raison d'etre.
There are other reasons for believing the time is right for Obama to end the Cuba stalemate. The recent death of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's influential president, has robbed Havana of a strong supporter, both political and financial.
Chavez was not interested in a rapprochement with the U.S., either by Cuba or Venezuela. His revolutionary beliefs did not allow for an accommodation with the American "imperialists." His successors may not take so militant a line, especially given that Venezuela continues to trade heavily with the U.S., a privilege not allowed Cuba.
The so-called "pink tide" that has brought several left-wing leaders to power in Latin America in the past decade is not exactly on the ebb, but the hostility countries such as Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia felt towards the Bush administration has abated. In fact, according to Sweig's article, U.S. business with Latin America as a whole is booming, up 20% in 2011. The U.S. imports more crude oil from Venezuela and Mexico than from the Persian Gulf, including Saudi Arabia. The U.S. does three times more business with Latin America than with China.
The stand-off over Cuba is an obstacle to advancing U.S. interests and business in Latin American countries, and vice versa. The continuation of the embargo has left the U.S. almost totally isolated at the United Nations, and at sharp odds with its major allies, including Britain and the EU.