After several noisy weeks in succession, silence was the operative word in the news this week coming out of Cuba.
In the four years since he succeeded his brother, Cuba’s president, Raúl Castro has ushered in a new era of plain-spoken oratory. Short speeches. No big demonstrations. Actions over words. Some in Cuba, fatigued by politics, welcome the new national brevity. Others complain the government doesn’t say enough to let Cubans know what the next play will look like.
Commentators – in Cuba and abroad – have been left to parse through a shrinking pile of tea leaves in order to analyze for the rest of us what they couldn’t know themselves. At no time has this gap between speculation and reality been wider or more apparent than at the beginning of this week. After being told that Raúl Castro would address the Cuban nation to commemorate National Rebellion Day, July 26th, to spell out the next chapter in Cuba’s economic reform project, President Castro greeted guests, helped give out awards, and said absolutely nothing in public, about reforming Cuba’s economy or anything else.
His next appearance takes place before Cuba’s National Assembly in the coming days. Modesty and experience suggest we should all stay tuned.
As Cuba’s parliament assembles, the U.S. Congress prepares to disperse. But the effort to pass legislation to repeal the travel ban continues to move forward. Representatives Michael Doyle, Edward Markey, and Jesse Jackson signed on as cosponsors of the Peterson-Moran legislation, to open travel and boost trade to Cuba, in the hours before Congress is scheduled to recess for the summer. Editorial voices from Kansas to Texas were also raised in favor of the bill.
Not so the President’s voice. His trumpet remains muffled, at best, despite Cuba’s moves to release political prisoners. Imagine that; Garbos in both capitals.
Detailed reports about these (quiet) developments, and a final word, this week in Cuba news.