Raul Castro certainly had a vision for Cuba’s economic and political transition when he announced three years ago that he would step down as leader of the Communist Party in 2021. But things did not go according to his plan, as the island’s tourism-dependent island was hit by a pandemic, with the economy falling by at least 11 percent, according to government estimates, according to CNN.
Castro, along with former US President Barack Obama, improved Cuban-US relations, only to deteriorate again during the Donald Trump administration, which imposed tough economic sanctions on Cuba. Incumbent President Joe Biden, meanwhile, has so far not established communication with Cuban authorities, despite a significant change in the country’s leadership.
A historic change is expected at the forthcoming eighth congress of the Communist Party this week, in which the family that transformed Cuba into a socialist state will ease its grip on power.
The congress kicks off today to mark the 60th anniversary of Cuba’s victory in the Gulf of Pigs. Raul Castro is expected to step down as first secretary of the Communist Party. He also left the presidency in 2018, allowing his successor Miguel Diaz-Canel to lead the government. Castro then said that Diaz-Canel would probably take over the leadership position in the party this year.
The change of government will mark the end of the Castro family’s political era in Cuba, as none of the children of former Cuban leader and Raul’s brother Fidel Castro, who died in 2015, is currently in a leading government position. After the end of the congress, no member of the Castro family will be in the leading positions of power for the first time in 62 years.