By Caribbean News Now contributor
HAVANA, Cuba — The Cuban government has announced that it will postpone a presidential election originally planned for February 2018, which means that Raúl Castro will remain in power at least until April 19, the new date in which a new legislature and the president of the Councils of State and Ministers will be elected.
Castro had announced that he would retire at the end of his two terms on February 24, the original date of the election of the new National Assembly, although any transfer of power is likely to be largely symbolic since he will remain as head of the ruling Communist Party.
According to the announcement published in the official Communist Party newspaper Granma on Thursday, the decision is due to the impact of Hurricane Irma, which hit the island in September and also caused the postponement of municipal elections.
However, the Miami Herald reported that the diplomatic crisis following the so-called sonic attacks on US diplomats in Havana and the recent partial reversal of the Obama administration’s rapprochement with Cuba by President Donald Trump set the stage for Castro’s extended term and has provoked a harder line generally in relations with the US.
According to a senior US intelligence official, Cuban intelligence and Raul Castro are smart enough to realize that Trump’s policy towards Cuba could be short term, taking into account the Robert Mueller factor, in concert with “Me To/Resistance” movement.
“They are also counting on the mid-term elections, which many political experts predict could put the Democrats back in control of the House and possibly the Senate, and which could put an end to this madness,” he added.