The U.S. president who brought us a hope-and-change campaign has helped spread the same message to Cuba after announcing the two countries would try to normalize relations.
But it’s likely Cuba will experience far more hope and far less change, at least in the short term.
Blame the Castro government for that. It doesn't want to change.
Raul Castro said as much on Wednesday, when he and Barack Obama simultaneously made the historic announcement of détente between the Cold War foes. Castro made sure to suggest socialism was in Cuba to stay, that he wasn’t “renouncing any of our principles.”
“The heroic Cuban people,” Castro said Wednesday, “will continue to be faithful to our ideals of independence and social justice.”
Putting aside the irony of a totalitarian state’s leader talking about “social justice,” Castro’s speech Wednesday was notable not just for what he said, but for how he said it — in his green army fatigues. The message was clear: the revolution lives. Cuba remains in a state of battle.
In war, truth is often the first casualty. But to Castro’s credit he has been honest about his intentions to remain wedded to a financial system that doesn’t work for the people, only for the select group of political-military elites who live like princes while their countrymen scrounge for food.