Cuban President Raul Castro's announcement that the second five-year term to which he has been elected will be his last is a vindication of his political vision for the country.
He has previously made clear that he believes a maximum of two terms in a political post should be the norm.
This applies to countries as disparate as the US and China and, while it may not have been appropriate in, say, Venezuela or elsewhere, the most important consideration is that Cuba's decision was made in Havana.
Aside from the justice and equality components of the Cuban revolution, the crucial point has been defence of the island's national independence.
Cuba's 1959 revolution challenged the Monroe doctrine, first asserted by President James Monroe in 1823 and developed as the power of the US grew, that Washington called the shots within its own borders and in the entire western hemisphere.
Governments in Latin America could come and go, either elected or at the point of a gun, but none would be permitted that failed to pledge an oath of fealty to their powerful northern neighbour.
Cuba's revolution led by the "barbudos" (men with beards) changed that reality for ever.
For the first time the country that called itself the first free territory of the Americas would make decisions without recourse to the regional power.
Washington could not admit that its subsequent hostility to Cuba, support for invasion and acts of terrorism and imposition of a global economic blockade were based on its inability to acknowledge the island's independence, so it dressed it up as punishment for introducing an alien power, the Soviet Union, into what it insultingly called its backyard.
The Soviet Union is no more, but the blockade persists 22 years later, no more justifiable now than when first imposed in October 1960.
Cuba is no longer isolated in its own region. The logic of its example and the realities of conditions in a number of countries have helped to bring about substantial political change throughout Latin America.
As siege conditions have been weathered, the leadership has been able to contemplate political development.
This involves not only President Castro foreshadowing his own retirement but also the National Assembly ensuring the continuity of the revolution and construction of socialism "by gradual and orderly transfer to new generations of top positions."
The most striking aspect of this process is the election of Miguel Diaz-Canel as first vice-president, the first person not to have participated personally in the revolution to occupy this post.
Those in Washington and beyond who may hope for systemic change should note that the president stressed that far from being elected to restore capitalism, "I was elected to defend, maintain and continue to perfect socialism, not destroy it."
US President Barack Obama should welcome these new developments and cease being guided by dreamers in Miami still obsessed with overthrowing Cuba's independent government.
His priority of domestic economic growth could be assisted by ending the blockade and giving US farmers and manufacturers access to the Cuban market denied them for so long.
As a first step in rebuilding relations, he should order the release of the five Cuban patriots held in the US for surveillance of anti-Cuban terrorist groups in return for the release of US agent Alan Gross from imprisonment in Cuba.
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