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Does Castro's Resignation Really Mean Change?
Yesterday the media was flooded with news of Fidel Castro's resignation—talk about change. Castro has ruled for 49 years—he is the world's longest serving head of state (excluding monarchies), including monarchies, he’s third, after Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and the King of Thailand.
If ever there was a time for change in Cuba, it's now. Most Cubans have known no other leader or system—in fact, more than 70% of the population was born after the revolution. Even if someone in Castro's inner circle gains power it's unlikely anyone will rule for that long again.
As someone who has not been known for his openness to change, this resignation hopefully, marks his willingness to allow change and let the next generation assume power. Though some worry that this will not be much of a change if his brother Raúl (who took over after Fidel grew ill) is appointed president, I would venture to guess that the next commander in chief of Cuba will have to do things differently to make an impact.
Castro himself, after taking over the government of Cuba, was quoted saying, “A revolution is not a bed of roses. A revolution is a struggle between the future and the past.” The same is true for change now in Cuba—a struggle between what has been, what the people have known and what could and might be for this beautiful country.
My hope is that the people of Cuba will see this as a time to change. A time to allow the country to become a part of the global economy—something Castro was unable to do. There is change in the air and it’s Cuba’s time to make a change. We've been waiting for them.