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Cuba will respect Fidel Castro's dying wish that no statues be erected in his honor and no streets be named after him. Despite his omnipresence that endured for decades, the late communist leader always said he did not want any monuments in his honor on the island."There is no cult of personality around any living revolutionary," Castro stated in 2003. "The leaders of this country are human beings, not gods."

Consequently, Cuba’s National Assembly approved the law, which “bans commemorative statues of Fidel Castro and naming monuments and public places after the former leader.

Despite Fidel’s sentiments, Raul told the Assembly that “His fighting spirit will remain in the conscience of all Cuban revolutionaries, today, tomorrow and always,” Some have predicted that Fidel’s legend will grow even more despite his death, much like Che Guevara.

There a couple exceptions to the law banning the use Castro’s name in public places. The term Fidel Castro may used as a name for any institution created to study his role in Cuban history. The law also does not ban using his image, photo or likeness for public acts, Cuban military institutions, and educational or cultural entities.

Thursday, 15 December 2016 10:26

Google to provide faster Internet for Cuba

An agreement signed between Google and the Cuban government Cuba aimed at improving its internet speed. The deal will allow the internet giant to provide faster access to its data by installing servers on the island that will store much of the company's most popular content. The deal will now give Cubans access to a network called Google Global Cache that stores data and content on servers located a relatively short distance from the island nation. Now Cubans will have access from sites that Google administers like Gmail, Google Drive and YouTube.

However, home connections remain illegal for most Cubans and the government charges the equivalent of a month's average salary for 10 hours of access to public wi-fi spots with speeds frequently too slow to download files or watch streaming video.

Cuba has one of the lowest Internet speeds and connectivity in the world. It’s no surprise Cuba is considered the “least connected” country in the Americas, with the Geneva-based ITU ranking the country 125th out of 166 countries worldwide in telecommunications development.

The Google deal was announced less than a week after Cuba gave three US cruise companies permission to begin sailing to the island next year. Officials familiar with the negotiations say other deals, including one with General Electric, are in the works.

In the first part of this article I discussed the possible scenarios in the wake of Fidel’s death since many are questioning if the Cuban Revolution will be able to survive. Now I would like to talk about possible successors once Raúl steps down in 2018. So who will follow him? At this time everything seems to point to Miguel Díaz-Canel taking over the reigns of the island nation.

It appears that for the first time in half a century a person who did not fight in in the revolution or without the last name of Castro will be at the helm. Raúl had to select someone who would ensure the perpetuity of the only communist country in the hemisphere and Díaz-Canel seems to be the logical choice at juncture.

The 56-year-oldDíaz–Canel is an electrical engineer by trade with political experience and who is known to wear bluejeans and not military uniforms. He supports the opening up of the Internet and stated in a recent speech, “Today with the development of social networks and the Internet, to prohibit something of the type is virtually impossible and makes no sense at all.”

In contrast to the Fidel and Raúl, he is strikingly tall and claims to be a man of simple tastes. Some say he resembles the actor Richard Gere because of his full head of gray hair and good looks. However, he is not known to be a great orator. “Comrade Díaz is by no means a political novice,” stated Raúl when the former was appointed to the second most important political position in Cuba.

Although Díaz-Canel is the odds on favorite to succeed Raúl, there are a couple of other names that have been mentioned. Cuban Chancellor, Bruno Rodríguez’s name has come up. In addition, Marino Murillo, the mentor of Cuban economic reforms is in the mix, as is Raul’s only son Alejandro Castro Espín. But when all is said and done, Díaz-Canel appears to be the most likely choice unless something unforeseen occurs to change Raul’s mind between now and 2018.

At one time it was thought that either Vice President Carlos Lange or ex-chancellor Felipe Pérez Roque would eventually take over control of the country. However, both fell out of favor with the government.

For many Cubans, Fidel Castro for all practical purposes was dead and buried years ago. Therefore, many of them have had their eyes and minds turned toward the future in an effort to move on from Fidel. There are no statues to Fidel in Cuba but his slogans can be found painted on the side of many buildings and billboards. So, it will be difficult to forget him altogether since his name will still be on the lips of those who loved him and others who blamed him for all of the island’s ills.

Nevertheless, with the death of Fidel the country’s political situation should open up and become more flexible. Raúl will have an enormous weight taken off his shoulders. He will no longer have to deal with his older brother’s overwhelming personality, persona nor his opinions. Fidel’s omnipresence will no longer be looming in the shadows.

The Cuban people can only hope for some type of change for the better, especially with the closer ties and improved relations with the U.S. Alejandro López Levy, a specialist in Cuban affairs at New York University’s of Global Studies, stated “After Fidel’s death there should be reforms designed to eradicate the aspects of communist politic’s that are not practical.” "The impact and nature of the posible reforms will be limited to Raul’s vision since he has the last word in these matters and the fact that he has vowed to be true to the essence of the Cuban Revolution.” He has already made progress in reforming the country since her took over in 2008 by allowing small businesses and the sale of homes in an effort to stimulate the economy.

If the United State’s policy of normalization continues in the direction it is currently moving, the prospect of of change on the island should continue. Let’s hope that President-elect Trump will not roll back the progress that has already been made in U.S/Cuba relations. By continuing the progress toward normalization of relations with Cuba Mr. Trump has an chance to make Cuba part of his foreign policy legacy as well.

As stated in the Huffington Post, "A candidate who based much of his campaign on leveling the playing field for US trade should encourage, not undermine, the American companies that after 57 years of being locked out of the Cuban market, can finally have access to that market. Donald Trump ran as an agent of change. After fifty years of a failed embargo, normalization of relations with Cuba is the right kind of change."

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