The Cuban economy is in tatters and the regime is backtracking on promises of reform, while human-rights groups say that beatings and detentions of dissidents have soared since the U.S. extended an olive branch, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Ideologically, the old guard, and some younger leftists, fear that opening to globalization and to market forces will jeopardize what they see as the genuine gains of the revolution, argues Richard E. Feinberg, author of a new book, “Open for Business: Building the New Cuban Economy.”
“Politically, some in power most probably fear that deepening economic reforms, by gradually empowering an emerging private sector and an internationally connected middle class, could eventually threaten the political monopoly of the hegemonic Communist Party,” he tells The Miami Herald:
Bureaucratically, over 50 years the Cuban state has become so multilayered, so burdened with thick red tape and so risk-averse that the decision-making procedures are broken. Raúl Castro and his aging colleagues seem to lack the vision and energy to drive comprehensive reform, so the Cuban people will have to wait until 2018 when new leadership — a new generation — comes forward.
Cuba is at a tipping point, argues Feinberg, a nonresident senior fellow in foreign policy at the Latin America Initiative of the Brookings Institution.
“Fidelista ideologues and bureaucratic inertia could stall reform—driving many more millennials to exit. Powerful state-owned enterprises could fight to preserve their comfortable monopolies and repress private initiative,” he contends.