No Castros, but Cuba’s still kickin’ it old-school

For the first time in memory, neither Fidel nor Raul Castro addressed the annual Revolution Day rally in Havan yesterday. Raul was at the event but left the main speech to First Vice President Jose Ramon Machado. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who was scheduled to attend as the guest of honor, was also a no-show, ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images
ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images
ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images

For the first time in memory, neither Fidel nor Raul Castro addressed the annual Revolution Day rally in Havan yesterday. Raul was at the event but left the main speech to First Vice President Jose Ramon Machado. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who was scheduled to attend as the guest of honor, was also a no-show, citing heightened tentsons with neighboring Colombia.

Fidel was out-and-about elsewhere in town, but the choice of Machado -- age, 80 -- to take their place at the ceremony, doesn't do much to convey the message that the revolutionary generation has made plans to pass on the torch. Even after Raul Castro's widely publicized cabinet "shake-up" last year, the gerontocracy remains in place -- only one of his five vice-presidents was born after the 1953 guerilla attack that Revolution Day commemorates.  One of them make the Castros look like spring chickens. Two of the younger rising stars of the regime, cabinet minister Carlos Lage and Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque -- both considered potential future presidents -- lost their positions. 

The rally could have been an opportunity to highlight the generation that will take up the mantle of the Cuban revolution but the most prominent young face on display seems to have been the long-dead Che Guevara.

For the first time in memory, neither Fidel nor Raul Castro addressed the annual Revolution Day rally in Havan yesterday. Raul was at the event but left the main speech to First Vice President Jose Ramon Machado. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who was scheduled to attend as the guest of honor, was also a no-show, citing heightened tentsons with neighboring Colombia.

Fidel was out-and-about elsewhere in town, but the choice of Machado — age, 80 — to take their place at the ceremony, doesn’t do much to convey the message that the revolutionary generation has made plans to pass on the torch. Even after Raul Castro’s widely publicized cabinet "shake-up" last year, the gerontocracy remains in place — only one of his five vice-presidents was born after the 1953 guerilla attack that Revolution Day commemorates.  One of them make the Castros look like spring chickens. Two of the younger rising stars of the regime, cabinet minister Carlos Lage and Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque — both considered potential future presidents — lost their positions. 

The rally could have been an opportunity to highlight the generation that will take up the mantle of the Cuban revolution but the most prominent young face on display seems to have been the long-dead Che Guevara.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

Tag: Cuba

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