Let the debate begin?
While Communist Party officials continue to deny reports that Fidel Castro is near death, the man supposedly in charge, Raul Castro, appears to be getting mighty comfortable in his new role.
According to this report, Raul Castro has told a meeting of university students in Havana that there is a need in Cuba for “greater debate” on issues of public policy.
Within limits, of course.
The 75-year-old acting president made it clear that there is no plan to shift from “the Revolution”, which is the term used by the regime to refer to the rigid and oppressive one-party template established 47 years ago by Fidel Castro.
But then Raul Castro added: "Sometimes people fear the word disagree, but I say the more debate and the more disagreement you have, the better the decisions will be.”
A positive sign of change? Hmmm ...
Or is this a repeat of Mao’s infamous “let a thousand flowers bloom” period in 1957? Back then, Mao enouraged Chinese intellectuals to openly criticise the failings of the Communist regime. They did. Only to find that the new period of debate lasted all of six weeks. After that, Mao rounded up all those who had dared to criticise him - and executed them.