Thursday, December 01, 2016

Cuba's Post-Fidel Transition

I attended an interesting talk by Carlos Alzuguray, a prominent Cuban scholar and diplomat. He argued that Fidel Castro's death will be a turning point for change in Cuba, since his presence greatly slowed changes even though he was no longer in government.

It was a frank talk. He said the economy clearly was not working and that once Raul was gone, the new leaders would inherit a "papa caliente." Not only are there severe economic problems, but the new leadership will not share the same mantle of legitimacy that the founders of the revolution enjoyed.

He also said that it had been a mistake not to work harder to expand internet access, noting that this is where Cuban entrepreneurs had a lot of untapped potential.

It struck me that an unknown question is that once Raul is gone, how well will the new leaders cooperate? We see how Hugo Chavez held together disparate factions, which fought harder against each other once he was gone. Cuba will have its own internal schisms about how to move forward, and we don't know how those conflicts will play themselves out.


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