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Cuba Today: An Interview with Ricardo Alarcon

The president of Cuba's National Assembly outlines the country's policies and goals in the face of Bush administration hostility
James Suckling
From the Print Edition:
Cuba, May/June 2007

(continued from page 2)

CA: Raúl is more private than Fidel?

Alarcon: No. Raúl is as much private as Fidel is.

CA: What is his management style then? How is it different than Fidel? Have you seen a change in government?

Alarcon: Raúl was already part of that government when Fidel Castro asked him to take over in July last year. He was second in command. What happened was a provisional handover of the responsibility from Fidel to Raúl. And frankly speaking, why should anybody assume that there has been any change whatsoever? It was not appointing somebody who was not supposed to be the person to take over those responsibilities. It was simply his role that was conceived for him. He was already second in command to take care of any substitution necessity.

CA: Is his position still considered provisional then?

Alarcon: It is a provisional position. Raúl has said that several times.

CA: But there has been so much talk about a transition in the Cuban government since Fidel's illness. So are you saying that nothing has really changed in the government? There is no transition?

Alarcon: There is no transition. The only thing is that you don't see Fidel in the way that you may have been seeing him last year. For example, there was a ceremony yesterday that Raúl decided to go to. The minister of economic development was there and Raúl was presiding over the ceremony. Maybe if Fidel had been there he would have made a speech. Maybe. Or maybe he would have been harassed by the media to say something.... But Raúl went there, sat down, listened, applauded and then got up and left.

CA: So it really is a different style?

Alarcon: Yes. It is a different style. Of course.

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