Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Raul Castro is not an idiot...

Major newspapers today are reporting that the Cuban government is taking some fairly bold moves to re-orient itself and remove many of the more onerous restrictions the government had imposed over the years - including moves to give farmers greater autonomy over what is grown, allowing Cubans to use tourist facilities (for the few who can afford it), and allowing the sale of computers, cell phones, electric scooters, microwaves, and even car rentals.

Assuredly, the reception to such reforms will be lukewarm in the United States, but they may signal changing winds in Cuba - particularly since they come at a time when Cuba is not forced into these reforms and enjoys the support of many left-leaning leaders in Latin America. At the very least, these seemingly inconsequential reforms mean a great deal in the everyday life of ordinary Cubans. Raul Castro is not his brother, he's a pragmatic goal-oriented socialist, rather than the ideologue that Fidel is/was.