Raúl Castro's Masterstroke
During the reading of the central report to the 7th Congress of the Communist Party, Raúl Castro stressed the importance of Article 5 of the current Constitution, which states: "The Communist Party of Cuba, inspired by Martí and Marxist-Leninist, the organized vanguard of the Cuban nation, is the maximum authority over society and the State, organizing and directing its common efforts towards the lofty goals of constructing socialism and progressing towards a communist society. "
Even the general/president, half joking and half serious, chided some of the members at the president's table who apparently did not know what article of the Constitution guaranteed their positions of power.
In addition to being one of the justifications for the existence of a single party, Article 5 perfectly supports Raúl Castro's personal aspirations, which point to his ongoing role as a top political figure in the country, at least until 2021, when he would reach age 90. At that point biology is bound to convinced him that it is time to rest.
As the authority of the Communist Party is posited above that of the State and Government, he who holds the post of first secretary of this organisation will be the nation's true leader, regardless of what others serve as presidents of the Councils of State or Ministers.
And, as has been disclosed, the youngest Castro has been "re-elected" at this VII Congress as the first secretary of the Communist Party. Therefore, he can sleep easy and wait for 2018, the year in which, as he repeated in the main report, he will abandon his State and Government positions. If this comes to pass, after that date it would suffice to hold of a Plenary Session of the Party's Central Committee, prior to the meetings of the Council of Ministers, and the sessions of the National Assembly of the People's Power, for the instructions of the General of the Army to remain the supreme directives guiding the actions of all officials at all levels.
Incidentally, it is very likely that after Raúl Castro's departure as president of the Councils of State and Ministers, those responsibilities will be occupied by different people, as is currently the case in Vietnam, and as was the case in most nations that once sought to build "real socialism."
Nerves must have been rattled at the Party event's presidential table when the general/president announced that he will propose to the Central Committee an age limit on those forming part of said organization: one will have to be 60 or less to sit on the Central Committee, and 70 or less to occupy a leadership position in the Party.
But, of course, Raúl Castro knew that he would be confirmed as the leader of the Party, so he immediately reassured Machado, Lazo, Valdés Mesa, Ramiro Valdés, Cintra Frías, Ramón Espinosa, López Miera, and a long list of gerontocratic officials, who were relieved to hear Castro explain that this five-year period from 2016-2021 would be a transitional one, and that things would not be done in haste, "removing one and replacing him with one who is 10 years younger."
That is, they will essentially all continue to form part of the General of the Army's cadre until 2021. After that will be another story. Perhaps Castro II, paraphrasing King Louis XV, might declare: "after me, the deluge."
In any case, Cuba's political chessboard has just witnessed a masterstroke. Raúl Castro's "leaving without leaving" in 2018 will mean that, if it works, the dynasty will survive.