by Rob Sequin - Publisher - Havana Journal
(updated June 10, 2007, now up to 20 scenarios)
I am not a journalist and I am not an essay writer so I’ll do my best make my point.
Pretty much everyone agrees that Fidel the man, his star status and his ideologies have defined and dominated the Cuban way of life since January 1, 1959.
Sure the “transition” has gone smoothly but Fidel the man, his star status and his ideologies are still alive.
When Fidel dies, his star status and ideologies will probably live on. History may absolve him but Fidel the man won’t be around anymore to promote his ideologies and his star status will fade. It has already faded.
So, why do I think there will be chaos after Fidel?
In no particular order:
1. Fidel’s people in the government are still in place and will fight for what they have worked for. There may be a power struggle or maybe they will use their influence to “reassign assets” to other locations thus causing a shortage of materials. That could cause some chaos.
2. Many Cuban people respect Fidel and won’t want Raul or anyone else in as President. They may rebel in their own ways, maybe a work slowdown or something like that. That could cause some chaos.
3. Raul and his people now have a taste of power and have been making changes and meeting with Chinese officials. Raul and/or his people may want to make changes to the economy. If he opens up the economy too quickly it may spin out of control. That could cause some chaos.
4. Raul may have to lock down the country for a prolonged period time. That could cause some chaos.
4a. Raul leaves Cuba “Batista style” on short notice and the “rebels” aka dissidents take over. Wouldn’t that be ironic? That could cause some chaos.
5. Fidel’s funeral will draw MILLIONS of people to Havana along with foreign dignitaries from around the world and will probably last for a week. How does a government control, feed and handle sanitary needs for that many people? That could cause some chaos.
6. An uprising somewhere may get out of hand and subsequently put down by Raul’s military. The international community would probably make a big stink about it. That could cause some chaos.
7. The dissidents may have some demands after Fidel’s death and may become a bit more organized and vocal. That could cause some chaos.
8. The Cuban Americans from Miami may “invade” Cuba with private yachts to pick up or visit relatives. They may come by the thousands to see family and “check in on” their old homes in Miramar and Siboney. They may come to disrupt the Cuban government. That could cause some chaos.
9. President Bush and Condoleeza Rice may have their own “transition” plan for Cuba after Fidel dies. This is most likely NOT good for Cuba since they have no idea about how Cuba really works. That could cause some chaos.
10. The Democrats in Congress will have their own view on things and may want to offer aid of some sort. Remember too that the 2008 Presidential election is coming and candidates say crazy things on the campaign trail to get noticed.
11. A natural disaster like a hurricane hits Cuba or fire in Habana Vieja or Vedado may rage out of control and many people may be killed and blocks of homes and apartments destroyed. That could cause some chaos.
12. Tourists stay away from Cuba for months after Fidel’s death because of the instability of the new Cuban government so they money stops flowing. That could cause some chaos.
Added May 15, 2007
13. Hundreds of journalists will arrive in Cuba the day after the announcement of Castro’s death. The departments in charge of visas and airport security will be on VERY high alert. This could cause some chaos.
14. hard line Cuban exiles will come by boat, yacht, cruise ship, private aircraft and public airlines. They may try to disrupt any peaceful pro-Castro events. This can cause some chaos.
15. The CIA may have their own plans and ways to disrupt any peaceful transition. Remember there are many forces in this world that will do all in their power to PREVENT the peaceful transition from Fidel to Raul. If you ask me, poor Raul doesn’t stand a chance. This could cause some chaos.
16. The Russian Mafia - I am not sure how much of a presence they have in Cuba today but I would guess that they would see Castro’s death as an opportunity to “re-establish ties” within Cuba. This could cause some chaos.
Added May 21, 2007
17. Thanks to Humberto’s comment about learning from the past. He pointed out that all regime changes in Cuba have been bloody. Remember the attempted regime change of the ten years war with Jose Marti? Remember the Mambisies and the Spanish American War? Remember how Fidel’s “Revolucion” came to power by attacking Moncada and fighting until Batista just gave up and left? History just may repeat itself in Cuba. This could cause some chaos.
18. Who’s in charge? Raul is the interim President but does not address the Cuban people. Fidel now writes letters on international affairs and does not address the Cuban people. Some Cubans believe Raul is in charge. Some Cubans believe Fidel is in charge. How long before the Cuban people just give up on Fidel AND Raul because NEITHER is speaking to the Cuban people and the Cuban people either demand a leader to step forward. Now there is a real or perceived power vacuum. This could cause some chaos.
19. Fidel has been writing letters to the world for many months now. If he is dead or dies but the letters keep coming, the news of his death will come out at some point. Many Cubans love Fidel and see him as a trusted father figure. If it is shown that he died while his letters were still being released, the Cuban people may see this as the ultimate insult and loose all respect and trust for the Raul Castro regime. This could cause some chaos.
20.. I just read Raul Castro: Confronting Fidel Castro’s Legacy in Cuba by Brian Latell. I suggest reading it since he mentions a few different ways that chaos might occur in Cuba. He gives me my 20th reason. He says Hugo Chavez may not like Raul too much. If Hugo Chavez decides to cut off oil to Cuba, that could cause so chaos.
21. I think many people in Cuba are now anticipating a “change” of some sort after the death of Fidel. I don’t believe that the change can come gradually although China has orchestrated an economic change without a (successful) political uprising or change. Can anyone provide any examples from any time in history where a communist country or dictator regime has changed slowly after the death of their leader? Is China the only example?
PS I CHANGED THE TITLE from Why there will be chaos after… to Why there MIGHT be chaos after… I figure that is more appropriate and less antagonistic.
So, still think that the “transition” from Fidel to Raul will be peaceful? You think Raul can manage any one of these problems?
Any one of the above actions might incite riots and lead to chaos in Cuba.
Any two of the above should incite riots and lead to chaos.
Any three of the above will incite riots and lead to chaos.
I’m sorry to have this sad prediction for Cuba’s future but I just don’t think that NONE of the above is an option after Fidel Castro dies.
So, what do you see for the day of Fidel’s death announcement. The day after? The week and month after?