Cuba. At the end of February, President Raúl Castro confirmed that he will resign from his post by 2018, which would mean Castroepoken in Cuba’s history reaches its end after 59 years. He announced at the same time that, in accordance with a decision of the Communist Party, he will enforce a change in the constitution so that an upper age limit is introduced and that no public officials may sit for more than ten years.
According to Countryaah, some economic changes were noted during the year. Admittedly, the historical ties with the Russian Federation were strengthened in connection with a meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in February, which resulted in several new bilateral agreements. At the same time, the government announced plans to abolish the country’s dual currency system, one of the most serious obstacles to economic reform. The convertible peson is considered overvalued and the national peson undervalued, and none of the currencies function as reliable value meters.
The private sector also expanded somewhat during the year. In September, the president authorized another 73 so-called private cooperatives to operate. At about the same time, a special development zone was created around the container port of Mariel in collaboration with a private Brazilian company. The plan is for the port to attract both Brazilian and Chinese investment capital to Mariel and compete with other transhipment ports in the Caribbean.
One of this year’s most notable handshakes would have been what happened at the memorial ceremony of late South African leader Nelson Mandela in December, when US President Barack Obama and Cuba’s Raúl Castro greeted each other quickly. It was probably the first time since the 1959 revolution in Cuba that the supreme leaders of both countries met at all.
The PCC’s Third Congress, conducted in 1986, subsequently initiated a “process for correcting errors and negative trends”. This correction – Cuban: Rectificación– coincided with the implementation of Perestroika in the Soviet Union, but had a completely different character and at the same time aimed to prevent the Soviet model from being transferred to Cuba. The correction involved a dimming of the Soviet plan economy model, which had been in use since the early 1970’s and was based on material stimuli of the workers. The state reintroduced a number of methods, including Che Guevara had experimented with the 1960’s, which was based on political stimuli. The workers were motivated to form micro-brigades in addition to their normal work to help, through extra effort, to cover the huge shortage of housing and day care facilities.
In June 1989, a number of officers from the Army and the Department of the Interior were brought to trial in a public trial. Four of them were executed for being involved in the drug trade. These include the very popular war hero from Cuba’s efforts in Angola, General Arnaldo Ochoa. He was the chief military officer after Fidel’s little brother, Defense Minister Raúl Castro and a possible successor to Fidel Castro himself.
In the early 1990’s, the Bush administration in the United States escalated the pressure on Cuba through a series of extensive maneuvers on the Guantánamo base and in the waters around Cuba. At the same time, the superpower – in violation of international radio communications agreements – initiated TV broadcasts to the island. However, the project only succeeded for a single day, after which it managed to destroy the transmissions with local noise transmitters.
During the same period, the last contingents returned Cuban soldiers from Congo, Ethiopia and Angola. They had won Namibia’s independence and the beginning to the end of the apartheid system in South Africa. Over 300,000 Cuban soldiers had passed through Angola with a total loss of 2,016 dead Cubans.