What’s Raul Castro Been Up To?

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Cuba, Death Penalty

It’s been over 2 months since he officially took power, and The Seminal details some progress…

Raul Castro announced today that he is commuting all death sentences in Cuba (with the exception of 3 individuals charged with terrorism) to lesser sentences, citing humanitarian reasons. Cuba has faced pressure from human-rights activists to abolish its death penalty, which is still administered via firing squad.

The commutations are the latest in a wave of populist reforms introduced by Raul Castro since his older brother Fidel Castro retired and handed him power. Over the weekend he announced he’s raising pensions for retirees as well as salaries for some government employees, while earlier this month he lifted long-time bans on Cubans owning cell phones and staying in hotels reserved for foreigners.

Oh, and he’s also allowed Cubans to own personal computers, and that’s given rise to uncensored blogging about the country.

And yes, Raul still has a long way to go to undo the harm his brother has wrought on the country, and one can’t help but think the lion’s share of it will only happen after Fidel is dead, but these steps do amount to some progress and it should at least be recognized.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 and is filed under Cuba, Death Penalty. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “What’s Raul Castro Been Up To?”

  1. Nelson Says:

    I think most Americans are ready to open relations and trade with Cuba again. Are any candidates proposing this?

  2. Donklephant » Blog Archive » Cuba Gets Connected Says:

    [...] wrote about Raul Castro’s decision to let Cubans own computers and cell phones, so this is more of an add on than [...]

  3. Michael LaRocca Says:

    That’s not a humanitarian move. It’s a political one.

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