What happened to that affable and reform-minded Raúl Castro they once sold to the world? Some were surprised to realize that the product was shoddier than a Rolex made in North Korea.
On the very day marking 11 years since Fidel Castro transferred power to his brother, it became clear that the changes announced under the pompous label of raulismo did not entail any structural transformation of the totalitarian model. Cubans remain excluded from the national economy must content themselves with getting by with precarious businesses that are not even legally recognized.
Raulismo was just an advertising ploy based on an isolated measure that permitted micro-businesses, one easy to reverse and subject to extreme control.
Those not suffering from amnesia or stupidity realized that the specter of the "Revolutionary Offensive" - which in 1968 liquidated tens of thousands of small and medium-sized Cuban businesses - was always looming on the horizon, a distinct possibility. With the sunrise on August 1 those who had pinned their hopes on prospering under a totalitarian regime saw them shattered.
The regulation announced on Tuesday states that "no new authorizations will be granted for a (large) group of activities until self-employment plans are fine-tuned" (i.e., until further notice, if any).
It also dictates that "in the future no authorizations will be granted for activities like 'wholesale agricultural product sales,' 'travelling agricultural sales,' the 'buying and selling of discs' and the 'operation of rural recreational systems.'"
Eleven years later, and after much ado with Chanel, Fast & Furious, Madonna and the Rolling Stones, Cubans' dreams are still crushed under the iron fist of the Castroist state. Under "21st-century Socialism," dreams are reserved for a select few.
The only ones entitled to dream on the Island are the members of the Castro clan and their mafioso accomplices in Havana and Caracas. As the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba has suggested in this video, only they can dance. Everyone else must toe the line, marching in order, and slowly.