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Dissidents freed as Raśl Castro signals change of tack in Cuba
Guardian ^ | August 25, 2007 | Rory Carroll

Posted on 08/24/2007 8:42:48 PM PDT by Lorianne

Raúl Castro has started to make cautious changes in Cuba which could signal plans for political and economic reform. Since he took over from his brother Fidel, dozens of dissidents have been released, an olive branch has been extended to Washington and there is talk of easing communist controls on property and agricultural production.

Three political prisoners have been freed in the past fortnight, the latest being Armando Betancourt Reina, a journalist jailed for 15 months after reporting on the eviction of a family in Camagüey.

Analysts said Raúl, 76, who has been acting president since illness forced his brother to step down last year, was experimenting with stealth reforms to improve living conditions and morale without eroding government control. The defence minister has a reputation for hard-nosed pragmatism, in contrast to the more ideological Fidel, who at 81 embodies the 1959 revolution but no longer manages policy.

The changes could easily be reversed, but they signal a desire to ease the poverty and sense of claustrophobia which afflicts many Cubans, said a senior western diplomat. "There is a real effort to look at what doesn't work and to change it. Raúl wants to make life more bearable. The hope is that by addressing some specific complaints the system can continue."

(Excerpt) Read more at guardian.co.uk ...


TOPICS: Cuba; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: castro; cuba; cubalibre; cubandissidents; deathwatch; raulcastro

1 posted on 08/24/2007 8:42:49 PM PDT by Lorianne
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To: Lorianne
Wow. Maybe Raúl isn't quite as nuts a brother Fidel.

One can only hope...

2 posted on 08/24/2007 8:45:25 PM PDT by Jorge
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To: Lorianne

Hmm, maybe there is something to that rumor going around that his brother is dead.


3 posted on 08/24/2007 8:46:09 PM PDT by mware (By all that you hold dear..on this good earth... I bid you stand! Men of the West!)
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To: Lorianne

Hmmmm.....very interesting. Softening up the population so that the government can announce that Castro is dead perhaps? Trying to ward off a revolt?


4 posted on 08/24/2007 8:47:07 PM PDT by alice_in_bubbaland (I will respect illegal aliens civil rights, when they respect the sovereignty of the US!)
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To: Jorge

I’m sure Hugo will have something to say about it


5 posted on 08/24/2007 8:47:36 PM PDT by cjmae (Sanity was not equally distributed)
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To: cjmae
I’m sure Hugo will have something to say about it

If he can avoid being swallowed up by his own problems.

6 posted on 08/24/2007 8:53:32 PM PDT by Jorge
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To: Lorianne
There is a real effort to look at what doesn't work and to change it. Raúl wants to make life more bearable. The hope is that by addressing some specific complaints the system can continue

Shades of Gorbachev's perestroika and glastnost. But totalitarian communism is unreformable, as Gorby discovered to his dismay. The whole fricking mess collpased like a house of cards. The machine is rigged with booby traps and Cuba can expect the same outcome if Raul tries to tinker with it.

7 posted on 08/24/2007 8:56:35 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: Lorianne

Hang both brothers from a lamppost.

If Fidel is already dead, hang him from a lamppost anyway...


8 posted on 08/24/2007 8:58:50 PM PDT by EternalVigilance (States' rights don't trump God-given, unalienable rights...support the Reagan pro-life platform)
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To: Lorianne
was experimenting with stealth reforms to improve living conditions and morale without eroding government control.

Free healthcare isn't enough? Don't let Michael Moore know.

9 posted on 08/24/2007 9:01:44 PM PDT by neodad (USS Vincennes (CG-49) Freedom's Fortress)
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To: mware

been dead ....stinks on ice dead...


10 posted on 08/24/2007 9:06:10 PM PDT by Crim (Dont frak with the Zeitgeist....)
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To: Lorianne
"The defence minister has a reputation for hard-nosed pragmatism,"

what in the heck is "hardnosed pragmatism?" Is that like "soft hardness," or "light darkness?"

11 posted on 08/24/2007 10:03:21 PM PDT by redhead (Victory first; then peace)
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To: Lorianne
"Raúl wants to make life more bearable. The hope is that by addressing some specific complaints the system can continue."

I expect that the second statement carries more weight than the first.

More like "Raul wants to keep his head on his shoulders when the dam breaks."

12 posted on 08/25/2007 6:56:24 AM PDT by norton
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To: Jorge

Let’s hope he can’t


13 posted on 08/25/2007 11:04:35 AM PDT by cjmae (Sanity was not equally distributed)
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To: Lorianne

Raul would NEVER do this if Fidel were alive. Fidel died around the 15th of August. It’s not a rumor.


14 posted on 08/25/2007 11:07:30 AM PDT by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand;but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc 10:2)
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To: EternalVigilance
Hang both brothers from a lamppost

Yep.

If Fidel is already dead, hang him from a lamppost anyway...

Double yep.

L

15 posted on 08/25/2007 11:09:24 AM PDT by Lurker (Comparing moderate islam to extremist islam is like comparing small pox to ebola.)
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To: shield
Fidel died around the 15th of August. It’s not a rumor.

Is that when the cases of Glade air-freshener and big jugs of Febreeze started showing up at the Presidential Palace? ;-)

16 posted on 08/25/2007 11:41:01 AM PDT by uglybiker (relaxing in a luxuriant cloud of quality, aromatic, pre-owned tobacco essence)
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To: uglybiker

HA...he’s not been at the palace...due to his on going health he was moved to a house without stairs [he could NO longer climb stairs]. Then suddenly his health took a nose dive he was rushed back to the hospital...had 2 more surgeries...then fatal septicemia set in...he’s now on ICE...


17 posted on 08/25/2007 12:15:16 PM PDT by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand;but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc 10:2)
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