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Posted September 04, 2007 by publisher in Cuba Human Rights

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As the end of Fidel Castro’s era comes to a close and with it the possibility of a post-Raul Castro Cuba as well, I wanted to start this article to keep interested parties up to date on what we are hearing and reading.

This is like our FIDEL CASTRO HEALTH WATCH *sticky* article where we are posting all updates we can find about Fidel Castro’s health.

This article is geared more towards the state of the Cuban government, the mindset of Cuban citizens and talk of a near term post-Fidel Cuba. Please let us update this page unless you have credible information, news story or blog post that is directly relevant to the title of this article. test

  1. Follow up post #1 added on September 04, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    We have consolidated several posts so our readers can have all Cuba government related news, rumors, comments and predictions all living in one article. So, we have taken the *sticky* tag off the following articles and have posted links into this new *sticky* post. The URLs of the posts below have not changed.

    Comments on the death and funeral of Fidel Castro and beyond

    Fidel Castro is dead - Page 3 in Granma - prediction

    Why there might be chaos after Fidel Castro’s death - prediction

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  2. Follow up post #2 added on September 04, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Tomas Estrada Palma is reporting in his Bemba News post that the Cuban government is in disarray and that “Top regime members are now only concerned with making provisions for a final exit…”.

    He also says “There is word that the public transportation system has ceased to function which gives Cubans a built-in excuse as to why they are not at work. Graffiti demanding change is springing up everywhere. To sum everything up – the old government has lost all credibility. ”

    Personally, I have just started reading his blog but he seems to be a very knowledgeable, trustworthy and open minded blogger.

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  3. Follow up post #3 added on September 04, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Also, here is a good summary of the recent Castro health rumors and the current state of the Cuban government.

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  4. Follow up post #4 added on September 04, 2007 by abh with 244 total posts

    I found the following news article interesting:

    Americas News
    Cuba ends 20-year boycott of UN human rights experts

    Aug 31, 2007, 10:18 GMT

    Geneva - Cuba has invited a UN special rapporteur to visit the country for the first time in more than 20 years, it was revealed Friday.

    Swiss sociologist Jean Ziegler, expert on the right to food, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa in Geneva he would visit Cuba from October 28 to November 6 as part of a team of five.

    Ziegler said he expected to meet ‘all the key people’ though he had not yet finalised the details.

    Cuba has refused access to UN human rights workers since the mid-1980s, when it started being regularly censured by the former UN Human Rights Commission and was placed on a list of countries under permanent observation.

    The apparent shift in policy follows its removal from the list, along with Belarus, by the new Human Rights Council earlier this year and the gesture has been taken also as a sign of political change within Cuba.

    ‘I welcome the invitation. It is a sign that Cuba is interested in opening a dialogue with the Human Rights Council,’ said Ziegler. It is expected other experts could follow such as the rapporteur on health.

  5. Follow up post #5 added on September 04, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Good catch. I saw that article but forgot about it. It is directly relevant to this post. Thanks.

    Either Raul is loosening up on human rights or he is scared and just letting the UN in in order to show “good faith” to the US so they will deal with him?

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  6. Follow up post #6 added on September 04, 2007 by abh with 244 total posts

    Superficially it seems to me that this is a good move, no matter what your point of view.  It does seem that Raul’s style is to allow for a few gradual changes.

  7. Follow up post #7 added on September 05, 2007 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    hopefully this is all part of a direction “correction”  under Raul.  Not holding my breath, but unless these are isolated cases on their own and not part of a shift, the post-Fidel government might show more promise. 

    The real test, of course, will be if/when opponents to his government become vocal and how much of that the governement will tolerate before showing its power.  I don’t expect Raul to turn into a bleeding-heart liberal but am hoping in the direction of personal freedom and human rights that he will steer into a more liberal direction.

  8. Follow up post #8 added on September 26, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Philip Peters of the Lexington Institute writes a very thorough essay titled Will Raul Castro Reform Cuba’s Economy?


    Talk to anyone who worked with Raul Castro, or anyone clued in to the process that produced Cuba’s economic reforms in the early 1990’s, and you get the same story: that he supported those reforms and is not averse to the use of market mechanisms to improve Cuba’s economy.

    But with his brother in power, we could never know Raul’s preference for Cuban economic policy if he were in charge.

    That may soon change. 


    A turn to significant reform would change the trajectory of Cuba’s domestic policy and would carry political implications in Cuba and abroad.  The Cuban public would surely welcome an economic improvement and the government gain support.  And those who have called for change in Cuban policies – dissidents, the Bush Administration, European governments – would have to decide how to react.

    President Bush is awaiting the day when “the good Lord will take Fidel Castro away” and views that day as a moment of opportunity for the United States and others to exhort Cubans to change their political system.  He may be waiting for a moment that, in practical political terms, has already passed.  Change in Cuba, however gradual, is far likelier to come from within the system itself as it grapples with its economic future and the prospect of Fidel Castro’s entire generation soon leaving the scene.


    No doubt he has a good grasp on past and current events with regards to the Cuban government but I am not convinced that Raul will be able to stay in power for very long after the announcement of Fidel’s death.

    I just don’t see a slow change being orchestrated by a 76 year old man who was Vice President for 45+ years and one who has no charisma and is not particularly liked by the Cuban people.

    Then again, when has the Cuban government ever cared about the Cuban people?

    Read my thoughts about chaos in Cuba after the announcement of Fidel’s death in comment #1 above.

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  9. Follow up post #9 added on September 26, 2007 by abh

    Don’t always agree with Peters but it’s clear that all of us are basically trying to predict what will happen; his analysis is more convincing and fact-laden than any I have heard to date.

  10. Follow up post #10 added on October 01, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Here are the last four paragraphs from Brian Latell’s latest article titled “Cuba’s Lost Generation”. It should be titled “Can Raul Rule?”

    Instability could take many forms depending on how those conditions were first ignited. At the lowest end of the spectrum isolated popular disturbances in one or a few urban areas—sparked either by economic or political triggers—might prove to be relatively easily and bloodlessly contained by the police and security forces.

    Even then Cuban leaders would probably seek to ameliorate the underlying animosities by enacting targeted reforms. Leaders will be intent on preventing all forms of civil disobedience and disturbances, however, fearing that once underway they could spiral out of control. But under conditions of sustained popular unrest the regime could be faced for the first time since the early and mid-1960s with an opposition that might begin to coalesce.

    Fidel Castro’s successors would be uncertain and probably divided about how to respond to such challenges. Without the implacable Fidel to order merciless crackdowns and military campaigns to eradicate all opposition, his successors would probably experiment with different means of reducing or co-opting opposition elements. Moderates in Raul’s circle would advocate negotiations and concessions to pacify a rising opposition. Hardliners, also in his entourage, would demand to do what Fidel would, by brutally extinguishing all enemies of the old order. Their different strategies and priorities would in all likelihood generate discord and possibly open conflict.

    As always, the armed forces will be the key. The generals will be loath to order bloody repression of civilians in public places, and at least some officers would be likely to refuse orders to do so. In such a crisis atmosphere, generals could force change at the top almost at will, even to the extent of backing a rival to Raul or his eventual successor. Though both possibilities are unlikely now, the generals will remain more powerful than any conceivable combination of civilian leaders, that is, as long as command and control in their ranks remains steadfast.

    Read the rest of the article HERE.

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  11. Follow up post #11 added on October 01, 2007 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    maybe whats going on in Burma may have a good side effect after all - maybe Cuba’s generals see it and decide this is not what they want for Cuba.

  12. Follow up post #12 added on October 25, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Cuba’s Alarcon says unsure on Castro’s re-election

    Cuban National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcon said on Thursday it was impossible to say whether convalescing Fidel Castro would be in a condition to be re-elected next year as leader of the Communist island.

    Castro, 81, who has not appeared in public for 15 months, is suffering from an undisclosed intestinal illness and handed over power to his brother Raul last year.

    “I cannot predict whether he is going to be available to be president of the state, but I also cannot say whether I will keep being a lawmaker,” Alarcon said in a visit to Quito.

    “Revolutionaries never retire,” he said.

    Cuba’s assembly has to decide in March next year whether Fidel Castro can be ratified as head of state. Many analysts believe a stable transfer of power to Raul Castro has already taken place.

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