19.10.05

After Fidel Castro , by Tim Ashby

Tim Ashby tells us about Fidelito, the son of Fidel Castro: If Raul survives Fidel, he will succeed the elder Castro, although I predict that a junta will actually wield power, probably including Alarcon, Lage and Valdes. The military will remain a potent force, but it is more concerned about managing the 65% of the Cuban economy it controls rather than taking over the government.
Randy Black is absolutely right about the truly dire economic conditions inside Cuba today. Fidel's putative successors are acutely aware of this and are eager to open up the economy to ease social tensions. Expectations will be heightened to a breaking point after Fidel's demise, and to stave off a popular revolution the next government will almost certainly seek to restore relations with the US, have the embargo lifted, open up Cuba to foreign direct investment, and allow Cubans much wider latitude to practice private enterprise.
"Fidelito'' - Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart (yes, a first cousin of the Cuban-American congressmen who are his father's bitter opponents) studied nuclear physics in the Soviet Union in the 1970s and subsequently served as executive secretary of the Cuban Atomic Energy Commission from 1980 to 1992. He divorced his Russian wife about 15 years ago and remarried a Cuban. Fidelito works as a consultant for the Ministry of Basic Industries. He reportedly lives quite modestly although he has a large security detail. Fidelito bears a striking resemblence to his father, yet is not considered to be Fidel's political heir. A US Interests Section diplomat told me that Fidelito went with some European friends to a popular Havana nightclub and was made to wait in aline outside with tourists. When one of Fidelito's companions asked why he did not invoke his father's name or order his security guards to get them inside, he shrugged and ! muttered "I can't do that."

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