Cuba ready for debate

Mexican journalist Gerardo Arreola lived for sixteen consecutive years in Cuba, where he was first the head of the Notimex office and then a correspondent for the newspaper. Day, The period that covered his journalistic work on the island ranged from the so-called “special period” following the collapse of the socialist camp in the 1990s, to the launch of the economic reform promoted by Ral Castro between 2011 and 2013.

In recent years, Areola has remained an accurate and informed observer of the reality of the island, off Mexico. His vision is unusual in media ideologically focused on the international legitimacy of the Cuban system, as it is devoted to pointing out the tension between society and the state on the island due to the location and to the debates and demands of many actors, as That diverse church is Catholic, intellectual, academic and anti-clerical.

His recent book, Cuba: the future under debate. The Age of Raul Castro and the Challenges of Transition (Debate / La Jornada, 2021) A guide to entering 21st-century Cuba, but also a self-portrait of the type of journalism that Areola practices. This section describes the main events leading up to the 2006 convocation of Fidel Castro and the first succession in favor of his brother Ral, the most recent approval of the new constitution in 2019 and the replacement of Miguel Diaz-Canel in the presidency. of the top leadership of the Republic and the Communist Party.

In recent years, Areola has remained an accurate and informed observer of the reality of the island, off Mexico. His vision is unusual in media ideologically focused on the international legitimacy of the Cuban system, as it is devoted to pointing out the tension between society and the state on the island due to the location and to the debates and demands of many actors, as That’s diverse church. Catholics, intellectuals, academics and abolitionists

The narrative, always attentive to the complexities of the process of change experienced by Cuba in the 21st century, which it does not hesitate to define as a “transition”, is rich in details. The journalist focused on the role of Hugo Chávez as spokesman for Fidel Castro’s convalescence, in the purge of young Fidelista leaders in 2009, in the conflict of views on reform among the Castro brothers, following the restructuring of the political leadership. The Communist Party’s last three congresses, in the restoration of relations with the United States during the presidency of Barack Obama, in the recovery of bilateral relations with Mexico since the administration of Felipe Calderón, and more recently in intensifying the dispute with Washington Protected by Joe Biden, after Donald Trump sanctions.

Unlike so many journalistic representations of Cuba, in the Latin American left, this book does not describe the economic reforms and reorganization of the political system, followed unanimously by the constituent process and eventual succession, as a historic leadership initiative. goes. population. Arriola attaches particular importance to the differences with the new constitution before and after it came into force in 2019.

This section describes the main events leading up to the 2006 convocation of Fidel Castro and the first succession in favor of his brother Ral, the most recent approval of the new constitution in 2019 and the replacement of Miguel Diaz-Canel in the presidency. top leadership of the republic and of the communist party

In the midst of rising anti-intellectualism on both the Latin American right and left, this book highlights the role of academics and journalists in the Cuban debate. Its pages feature debaters such as Carmelo Mesa-Lago and Aurelio Alonso, Yoni Sanchez and Julio Cesar Guanche, Pavel Vidal and Alain Diaz, Roberto Veiga and Milena Raccio. Possible Cuba and subject, such as Rialta and State, which, in its plurality, would be unimaginable today in official Cuban publications such as Granma, Rebel Youth and CubeDebit, but also in Latin American newspapers such as day or page 12.

Following the definitive transfer of powers to Miguel Diaz-Canel, the book closes with an account of the past two years, in which they highlight the worsening economic and health crisis and the true impact of United States sanctions on the island. In that account, however, Arriola does not hide the itinerary of repression and censorship that followed the ratification of Decree 349, the social outbreak of July 11, nor the repeated and arbitrary limits on freedom of expression and association that they had in Cuba. is implemented .

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