Castro Retires - Cuba Remains The Same

Unless you've been cut off from the rest of the world, you know that Fidel Castro has stepped down as the leader of Cuba. His younger brother Raoul has been designated to replace him.

While some people seem to think this change in leadership will bring changes to Cuba, I doubt it. There will be some small cosmetic changes, primarily in economic policies, but for the most part it will be a case of “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

The Cuban exile community certainly understands this, greeting the news of Fidel's retirement with muted excitement. They know that Raoul was the hatchet man for his older brother and was the most feared man in Cuba. I doubt he's changed all that much and would be more than willing to silence the opposition by any means necessary. But Raoul isn't a young man at 76 and won't be in power all that long as compared to Fidel. There are other, much younger men waiting in the wings, some which might be able to bring much needed reforms to Cuba. Their time has not yet come.

Can Cuba continue on the path they've followed for almost 50 years and remain an economic backwater? Or will Cuba start on the kinds of reforms the People's Republic of China have pursued, which hopefully will also lead to democratic progress in both nations?

Only time will tell. Hopefully we won't have long to wait.

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