Raul Castro announced Sunday that he will step down as Cuba’s president in 2018 following a final five-year term, for the first time putting a date on the end of the Castro era. He tapped rising star Miguel Diaz-Canel as his top lieutenant and first in the line of succession.
The 81-year-old Castro also said he hopes to establish two-term limits and age caps for political offices including the presidency – an astonishing prospect for a nation led by Castro or his older brother Fidel since their 1959 revolution.
That would be a very good thing.
Communist dictatorships all too often turn into a type of feudal monarchy. We see this in North Korea, and Cuba looked to be heading that way.
I think term limits are an excellent thing as they mean no one person remains in power for ever, and as importantly focus politicians on what they can achieve in their limited time in the top job rather than trying to hang on forever.
Since taking over from Fidel in 2006, Castro has instituted a slate of important economic and social changes, expanding private enterprise, legalizing a real estate market and relaxing hated travel restrictions.
Still, the country remains ruled by the Communist Party and any opposition to it lacks legal recognition.
A long way to go, but at least heading in the right direction.