Friday, January 11, 2013

Intelligence guesswork in Cuba and Venezuela

Given the speculation about Venezuela, this is remarkable. Read this National Intelligence Estimate of Cuban politics, dated June 14, 1960.

2. Fidel Castro will almost certainly remain in power through 1960, unless he becomes incapacitated to such an extent as to be unable to exercise personal leadership. The opposition to his regime, though growing, is weak and divided and lacks a dynamic leader. Should Fidel Castro depart the scene, a crisis probably would develop in a short time. Raúl Castro and “Che” Guevara would probably seek to carry on, but disaffected elements would almost certainly make a bid for power and there is a better than even chance that the country would be thrown into a period of widespread disorders and bloodshed.

Sound familiar? It is a very useful reminder that all the guesswork is exactly that. And it goes right back to my discussion of "charisma."


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