"Neither displeases nor falls in love": this is Miguel Díaz-Canel, the most likely substitute for the Castro in power in Cuba

"Neither displeases nor falls in love": this is Miguel Díaz-Canel, the most likely substitute for the Castro in power in Cuba

Havana Cuba.- There’s a black Audi parked outside my building in the neighborhood of Vedado, Havana Cuba seeing an Audi is like seeing a space comet. The registration begins with the letter M, which indicates that it belongs to the Ministry of the Interior. There are also two serious men, with thick mustaches, who seem to alternate guard turns: while one is inside the Audi, the other walks and roams the neighborhood. In the distance, the two types look robust and face a few friends. The one who is now outside the Audi watches with suspicion around him: the balconies, the people who come and go, but above all, he examines shamelessly, from top to bottom, the people who enter my building. My building is old and weird. It was built at the end of the twenties of the last century. It consists of two blocks of three floors that communicate through a corridor of columns. The apartments in the back block, right where I live, have balconies that face the back of the rooms in the front block and two interior patios that are on the sides of the corridor. The two apartment blocks make a powerful echo in the middle and that the minimum movement becomes a rumble. Voices intermingled from one of the houses on the first floor. Voices foso, carefree and cheerful. The apartment has the back door open and from the hallway of the building, passing the view through the patio on the left, you can see my neighbors sitting at an elongated table. They do the after-dinner of a Sunday lunch. In one of the chairs, with graying hair and slightly pink skin, dressed in a gray shirt without piping and holding a beer President in his left hand is the vice president of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, accompanied by his wife. The man, who probably replaces the Castro brothers as president of the island after 60 years, is reclining on the back of his chair and conversing normally without gesturing too much. Diaz-Canel has stretched and posada in one of the shoulders of his wife Lis Cuesta the hand that it has left free, the one that does not hold the beer. One of my neighbors will tell me a couple of hours after the vice president and his wife were at his house and they had lunch because his mother is a friend of Cuesta. My friend will also tell me that Díaz-Canel “is a cool guy, whore”, that “he took his traguitos”, that it was he “who decided in Cuba to put football matches live” and that “he’s going to Barca” . Díaz-Canel is an electronic engineer, graduated from the university of his native province of Villa Clara, but his career has never been attached to science, but to politics. He is a leader gestated in the bowels of the Cuban formative pyramid cadres of the Communist Party. Although the Cuban vice president was not formed in a military environment like the immense majority of the island’s power dome, he has dressed in lime green once. When in 1982 she finished her studies at the Marta Abreu University, she began to work professionally in the ranks of a unit of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) in which she spent three years. Then Díaz-Canel returned to the university classrooms as a teacher and that was how he began to gestate his rise in politics. At the end of the decade of the 1980s, he alternated the classrooms with militancy and became one of the faces of the Union of Young Communists (UJC) of the province of Villa Clara. A young man with a rocker look The UJC is the anteroom of the Communist Party (PCC), the laboratory of political cadres, the stage where the boys with credentials demonstrate their skills to continue ascending in the partisan institutional pyramid. For the first years of the 1990s in Cuba, when the collapse of the socialist camp plunged the island into an economic crisis that caused GDP to contract by 36%, Miguel Diaz-Canel became the second secretary of the committee National of the UJC. In 1994, already in the ranks of the PCC, Díaz-Canel was entrusted from the central committee with the position of first provincial secretary of the party of Villa Clara, a kind of mayor. And that’s where Cuba meets the then young and promising politician. The image of Díaz-Canel broke with the stereotypes of the Cuban leaders of the time. He had a long mane that made him look like a rocker and dressed in jeans and sports shirts. The island, adapted to the seriousness of well-ironed military uniforms, was surprised to witness the carefree hanger of the handsome young man. “You saw him everywhere in the city, he was young and he was looking for everything. The women loved it, “says Alfredo Suárez, a 65-year-old retired Villa Clara. Mercedes Del Monte, 68, who worked at the provincial PCC of Villa Clara in the years when Diaz-Canel was the first secretary, says: “He is an extremely effective and reliable man, he worked until late at night and cares by all his subordinates, even those below. ” Alejandro Almaguer, a bricklayer of 55 years, remembers two passages that won him many followers to Diaz-Canel in Villa Clara. “Cuba was going through its worst period in the special period, but the leaders were still living well with their perks. Miguel does not; the man was riding a bicycle when the other leaders were in cars with drivers. ” In the 90s, the island had so little oil that it was barely enough to supply the population with a random electric power for a few hours a day. Almaguer says that “the hospital in the province, which was prioritized, one day was without power and Diaz-Canel was bed for bed to apologize, even went where he was Guillermo Fariñas , the dissident who was hospitalized by hunger strike “. During his time as a leader in Villa Clara, Díaz-Canel also stood out for supporting several cultural projects. Among them music festivals that promoted especially the rock in the province, a musical genre demonized in the country. In Santa Clara, under the eyes and approval of Díaz-Canel, a cross-dressing show was held for the first time in Cuba. The Miguel Díaz-Canel who is resting his lunch between beers and with a broad smile at my neighbors’ house, is more like the happy and energetic Díaz-Canel who led the province of Villa Clara. The Diaz-Canel that today appears in the news and newspapers, the Diaz-Canel that was built up over the years and its political rise on the island, is sparse and gray. “Compliant orders” It seems that the responsibilities ended up making him a man to the extreme. That kind of leader who cares more for not looking bad to his superiors than for satisfying social concerns, and who fulfills his obligations by mere obedience. “He is a man without nuances. That does not displease but neither falls in love. He has made it clear that he will not be the man of change, that he has arrived where he has come because he is a compliment of orders par excellence. There is nothing in his speeches, in his positions, that make us think he is an ingenious guy, “says Francisco Perdomo, a professor at the Higher Institute of International Relations” Raúl Roa “. After all, Díaz-Canel is a legitimate son of the generation of Cubans born in the early years of the revolution. To those that the boom and the revolutionary atmosphere inculcated to them to keep the mouth closed before the imposed thing. A generation incapable of raising its hand and revealing itself before the established. From the PCC of Villa Clara, Díaz-Canel passed in 2003 at the request of the central committee and the political bureau to lead Holguin. In the province of the north east, the leader did not have the importance that had reached previously, but definitely was already on the radar of the Castros as one of the new promises that could be trusted for the generational change that biologically knocked on the door on the island. In 2006, Cuba took a turn for the worse when Fidel Castro He became ill and forcibly handed over his political powers to his brother Raúl. After a lapse of interim government, in 2008 Raúl Castro officially assumed the presidency of the island and in 2009 he gave his first blow at the table with which Díaz-Canel benefited. Raúl Castro removed eight ministers and four vice-presidents from the Council of State from their posts. Among them were two heavyweights of the generation of young people who, like Díaz-Canel, were gradually occupying important positions within the government apparatus: Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque and Carlos Lage Dávila, vice president and secretary of the council of ministers. Thus, in 2009, Raúl Castro handed over the Ministry of Higher Education to Díaz-Canel, who was minister until 2012. During this period, the ministry implemented a series of reforms promoted by Díaz-Canel that were aimed at raising the socialist ideology in the Cuban universities. “At the suggestion of the country’s top leadership, we had to develop several changes that were aimed at carrying out more ideological political work among young people. Several teaching plans were modified, “says Magalys Almanza, a worker at the Ministry of Higher Education. On February 24, 2013, Miguel Díaz-Canel became the first vice president of the Council of State and Ministers of Cuba and a short time later in the unique Cuban who has dared to sit in the political bureau with a tablet in his hands. On Facebook there is an account that under the name of Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez publishes photos and news of the politician. He is probably the only member of the Council of State who has a presence on social networks. Despite being three decades younger than Raúl Castro, Díaz-Canel has not said or done anything to suggest that his ideology is not Marxist. Their speeches are loaded with the same rhetoric and the same revolutionary slogans with which Cuban politicians have filled the podiums since 1959. In 2017, in a leaked video on the internet, he was seen expanding his dogmatic repertoire in a meeting with communist militants when the rumors that put him as the agent of change in Cuba sounded louder. In the images is seen an angry, annoyed Diaz-Canel, who attacks outside himself against the “subversive projects” with social-democratic profiles that, according to him, hide in the emerging independent press of the island and under the rug of the small Cuban businessmen that have emerged with the application of private property in the country. In his institutional bureaucratic rise Diaz-Canel has made something clear: he did not see military but his education is martial. This week, after 60 years under the political tutelage of the Castro brothers, Cuba will have a new president. One day after the Council of State and Minister choose the man who will lead the political strands of the island, if finally Diaz-Canel is chosen, he will be able to uncork a bottle of cider and drink for the presidency and his birthday 58.

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