CUBA'S CASTRO: REACTIONS OF AN AGING REVOLUTIONARY TO HIS AILING

Created: 6/1/1980

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

C1

Castro: Reactions of an Agtag Rc-clutiorcirv lo Ilk Ailing Revolution

rs (CI

longer the youthful and supremely self-confident revolutionary. Fidel

nearlyearsrencting in characteristic, if exagger-ated. fashion to strong evidence that hit revolution is in serious difficulty. Although Castro intellectually recognired that popular discontenttldlra significant and increasing ind had decided to counter i; by ridding the island

of several hundred thousande

lean initially, by the magnitude of the public discontent represented bylhe refuiee exodus.

This major setback came on the heelseries of political and personal losses. Because of the iniernaiional reaction to lhe Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Castro was not able to gain foroveted seal on the UN Security Council, and he was not able to exploit Tito's death lo gain undisputed leadership of the Nonaligned Movement. Furthermore, the death in January of his longtime friend and adviser. Celia Sanchez, deprived himoderating influenceource or support during these difficult times.

Yis

mewed io direct thehit

people against the "imperialist" United Slates.

l

home. Castro probably will continue io repress dissent rather lhan fundamentally attack its root causes. At the same lime, he will seek new victories on the international scene lo corrpcnsaie for thr poor prospects in Cuba. But such victories will not be easy to achieve. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan hasn Third World caucuses, and rising world tensions will make Cuban military interventions more risky.

Tn the extent lhat Castro is denied external as well as irlernal succes-s.

)ri

aterial It

ra

woi prrportdof FolMtol AnatrtU II

ith ihe Offln u'Centralmithe National tmrllltenr* QOlctr /or Ulln America. Informationmu mted tn lheommrmi omt imrrlri on mxlcom* mod -i. bo odirrtted to lhe I

C}

Castio: Reactions of

an Aging Revolutionary

to HU Ailing Revolution! I

!

rs

C)

)

rs (C)

Castro's capacity ioears of revolutionary struftr'e testslend of consummate political skill and/-

.enabled him to survive numerous crises owr tbe

year*.

i&rxciallyis regime. Castro was able lo

forestall dissatisfaction with the unfulfilled promises of the revolution by persuasivelyosy future.

Ai time went on. however, his opacity to carry ihe Cuban nonulace with him on the strength of his optirnitlic rhetoric weakened.he failure lo reach ihe productoal ofillion tons of sugar came on iheive-year period studded with policy failures. The dramatic failure of the sugarwhich he had publicly naked the honor of the Cuban revolution-^

ia (C)

o wasow

a major address in0 that the failure wis partly his faall.|

This xemed to sanction personal attacks on Castro. Bul when intellectuals dared to criticize him in response lo this "permissivee reacted wiih Soviet-style repression, clamping down on critics. As he was confronted wiih increasing publk dissatisfaction with his unfulfilled promisesetter life,]

to

on ihe world scene when domesticugwMtltt mtn ircutvesorr.e. and his adventurism has paid off. As domestic dilTiculiics became apparent bye chose lo intervene in Ethiopia andillingness to provide greater support for Central American revolutionary groups. As problems mounted within Cuba, he played an increasingly active role in the Nonitigned Movement.

desperate need for hard currency forced Castroove that eventually sowed the seeds of magnified discontent. His decision in8 to permit visits by Cuban exiles who brought gifts of consumernd tales of the good lire in the United States made the Cuban people realize all ihe more clearly the gap between whai Ihey had been promised and what had been delivered, ll set the stage for the unprecedented events of early April when thousands sought asylum in the Peruvian Embassy in Havana, and for the subsequent stream ofubans lo ihe United States from Ihe port or Marid.

TurrL

Some have iald lhal we are experiencing, dlficultles. This five* lhe Impression lhat we areiver. It would he better to say thetare sailingea ttf difficulties. We have been in this sea for some time, and w* will continue in this sea. tomeiimes more stormy, at other tlmrt more calm, but ,he shore Is far awayong time, who knows howe will marchea of difficulties; we will not be crossing It.'

Even before the exodus, Castro clearly was aware thai dissatisfaction was growing: he had been acknowledging partial failure of hi* revolutioneries of speeches over the past two years.uly speech to the People's Assembly concerning deficiencies in public services, he eveno far as to observr ruefully of lhe railroad. "Under capitalism il workedostwas his "secret" speech to lhe Assembly onhich wM subsequently disseminated to parly cadres throughout Cuba and quickly became public. He spoke with candor, and in detail, about the problems facing the regime. He drew attention to the severe lack of hard currency, to plam diseases, import shortfalls, rising petroleum costs, and inefficienty. mismanage mem. and waste. He indicated that "the severity of the difficulties we have encountered has led us to expand the circle of those in the know regarding thesenconomic protp>xts and lhe need to scale back the economic growth rale, hed)ri clear that the difficulties were not transient.

acknowledged there had oeen mismanage-

nient and errors in judgment:

The main enemy is our own shortcomings. Cubans cannot go on blaming the US embarrofor all their problems. The most Important now are oftheir owne are of age. since the revolution has completedears, and as such wt have to take the responslbilltyfor these

Strongly reminiscent of his "mea culpa" speechhisof failure probably intensified the already widespread discontent. In order to prevent open criticism of lhe regime such as occurredowever. Castrorackdown on dissidents andovernmental reorganinlion. The refugee crisis soon followed.

1 tutro to the Peook'i Assembly.ecember I

Despite hitand ihe evidence Indicatingignificant incrcisc in popular discontent during the paal

lj: (C)

rrrarm jcdlo convert Ifie^SaTrassmeni ioluTregirncierce aitacT on ihe United Slates.

The intensity of hit reactions probably ilerm from ihe fact that the current

:

'Cl

r as ihTtime he would" be confirmed aa nnditpaied lender of the NonaligneeJ Movement. When the Nonaligned Summit took place in Havant inastro used thetotrong bid foe -is leadership, ideological as well as titular. Alihoigh he was rot fully successful al the summit. Tiio't health wis failing, and Castro sew his time coming. He also hoped lo enhance Cuba's international prestige byeal on the UN Security Council. But ihe invasion cf Afghanistan by his Soviet pairon halted Castro's momentum. In the face of clear signs that opinion had shifted, he withdrew Cube's applicationouncil seal in January. When Tito died. Castro could not esploit ihe opportunity; in an ironicor fate, he eculd not even attend ihe futieral wcausc of the Peruvian Embassy ci'sis.

C)

death of Celta Sanchez: 'n January was another profoundly unsettling loss. She had been wiih him since ihe days in the Sierra Macstra andl)ptJia wise counselor and moderating influence. Deprived of he; support and advice.I

is now nearlyean old|

)

la ofCaot't totental

problems, he is unlikelyestrict his efTorts on the international scene and concentrate on remedying problems at home. On Ihe contrary, his success in turning puMk attention to ibc United Slates in Ihe curreni crisis and his success during recent years in exploiting opportunities in Africa, Central

ha -umber Inctalljwnnce loOnmimmrvmeed from ibree be number forcing their wtr inioembaartei reee ren II

EO 12

is

AmTica. and the Caribbean arpuc for Increased Cuban cfforu in ihc in'.ernition.il arena. T

rs (C)

io hold upolalsuccess. Cnsiro will br noved lo intensity hii efforts loevolutionary on the international scene while he represses distent ot home.

Victories wilt not be easy toe Soviet invasion of Afghanistan will make Caiiroattempts toeadership role in the Noneligned Movement more difficult. Increased international tensions will make military adventures abroad more risky. The decreased likelihood of success on the international scene, in concert with the bleak prospects Tor improvement at home.

Yrs

diplomatic moves by

be designed to maneuver the United States to

the outcomeictory.

rs

above material Is

Original document.

Comment about this article or add new information about this topic:

CAPTCHA