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Posted May 15, 2007 by publisher in Castro's Cuba

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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?

  1. Follow up post #1 added on May 15, 2007 by MiamiCuban

    I don’t think there would be any chaos at all.  There might be a disruption here and there, but overall life in Cuba will continue peacefully.  At the same time, I think it will continue to open up economically, conditions will improve for the Cuban people, and this whole ordeal over what will or won’t happen after Castro will become a thing of the past.  It won’t be much different than the Y2K issue that everyone was so worked up about.  In the end, the year 2000 arrived and all the hoopla faded.


  2. Follow up post #2 added on May 15, 2007 by J. Perez

    I am inclined to agree with MiamiCuban’s comments, and I also believe that the surest way to avoid chaos is for the government to make whatever necessary reforms are needed to improve living conditions for the average citizen. Relaxing restrictions on individuals to go into business for themselves would be the most obvious one, however, others could include the release of all disidents from jail and allowing some form of dialogue with them.

    I stongly disagree with Publisher on this issue. I believe most of the Cuban people see the transition as something that has already taken place and as long as they see some improvement in their daily lifes the will stick with the status quo, the alternative will look to troubling to a majority of people. Gradual change is the key, of course if the government remains unwilling to any sort of opening, then all bets are off. My feeling is they know better.


  3. Follow up post #3 added on May 15, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Thanks for the comments. I hope you’re both right but I think only reason the transition has been peaceful is because Fidel is still alive.

    There’s always that chance in the back of peoples’ minds that he may come back so they hang on…one more day, one more week, one more month.

    I am very confident that the announcement of his death will change Cuba forever and I don’t see how such a sea change could go smoothly.

    Disruptive change can lead to chaos.



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  4. Follow up post #4 added on May 15, 2007 by J. Perez

    Publisher,

    There will be mourning and sadness from many, joy and hope from many others, however, I do believe that public demonstrations will be limited to the former, not the latter.

    If the leadership is smart and hints to gradual changes the people will wait and see, the problem, in my opinion, can come if current grievances are not addressed.


  5. Follow up post #5 added on May 15, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    I don’t know.

    When I think about Cuba under Raul after Fidel’s death I think of terms like “house of cards”, “smoke and mirrors” and instability.

    You are putting A LOT of responsibility on Raul to peacefully handle any of the above disruptive and potentially chaotic scenarios.

    I just don’t see any man or even any government being able to hold back the flood of ideas, emotions, demands, people, etc etc.

    What do you think Jose Marti airport will be like after Fidel. THOUSANDS of people will arrive overnight and that’s just the journalists.



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  6. Follow up post #6 added on May 15, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    I just added 13, 14 and 15 to the list above.

    There are many forces that will do everything in their power to make sure that there is no formal transition from Fidel to Raul.

    In my opinion, Raul does not stand a chance.

    I am not advocating violence or wishing for chaos but for some reason I have this clear vision about the days after Fidel’s death announcement.

    I am also very confident that Fidel is near death.

    Read my reasons why I believe this



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  7. Follow up post #7 added on May 17, 2007 by James August

    Publisher,

    Are you related to Cubaking?


  8. Follow up post #8 added on May 17, 2007 by J. Perez

    Publisher,

    Raul is not alone, there are some key people around him which, I’m sure, have a very clear idea as to how to handle “the news” when it comes. The Cuban people, on the other hand, now what they have and even though it is far from being a perfect system, one thing they do not want is the Cubans in Miami or the U.S. to tell them how to run things.

    A majority of the people will not risk chaos and give the U.S. an excuse to intervene as long as they are given signs of change to come.


  9. Follow up post #9 added on May 17, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    James,

    Don’t know Cubaking. Who is that?

    J Perez,

    Unfortunately, I don’t think people can’t prevent or stop chaos. Chaos happens spontaneously and without warning. The Cuban government can plan against it but they cannot plan against all my reasons listed above.

    I don’t want the Cubans from Miami, the US or anyone else to intervene but external forces may cause or contribute to the start of chaos so they can come “to the rescue” and stop it.

    Chaos may be forced on Cuba or gasoline may be provided for the fire.

    I am very confident in belief that Fidel Castro’s death will lead to chaos in Cuba. Since I am the only one saying it, I believe it even more.



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  10. Follow up post #10 added on May 17, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Just added #16 reason for chaos in Cuba after Fidel Castro’s death.

    The Russian Mafia.



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  11. Follow up post #11 added on May 17, 2007 by Humberto

    48 YEARS OF NIGHTMARE. IS THE CUBAN PEOPLE GILTY OR NO GUILTY. LIKE A BAD CASE IN A JURY TRAIL, THE DESICION HAS BEEN IN THE HANDS, OF LATIN
    AMERICAN POLITICS, BAD DECISION OF AMERICAN PRESIDENTS, EUROPEAN
    GOVERMENTS DEFENDING HIS ECONOMIC INTERESTS, EAST COMUNIST GOVERMENTS, ASIAN COMUNIST GOVERMENTS, WITH SAME INTEREST OF THE
    CUBAN DICTATORS,  THE JUDGES ARE THE PAPA’S AND PRELADOS OF THE DIFFERENT RELIGIONS, THAT NEVER SAID NOTHING BAD ABOUT CUBAN REGIME.
    THE VEREDIC, 50 YEARS, OF MISSERIES, JAIL, HUNGRY, DISBELIVE, TORCH, AND FIRE SQUARDS, FOR THE CUBAN PEOPLE.    GOD, WHAT WE DID WRONG….


  12. Follow up post #12 added on May 17, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Humberto,

    Your post is off topic but I will leave it because you make a passionate point.



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  13. Follow up post #13 added on May 17, 2007 by abh

    Publisher,
    I have to say, I most definitely appreciate this website, and I respect your opinion, but again I would like you to realize that you are NOT “the only one saying…that Fidel Castro’s death will lead to chaos in Cuba”.  There are some Anti-Cubans in and outside of the exile community who are saying the same thing, and in my opinion you are moving closer and closer to this view.
    It seems ironic to me that you are such a believer that there will be instability, since we are going on 10 months since Fidel ceded power and—you cannot argue with this—things have been very stable.  I don’t disagree with you on many of your points and other recent posts, for example, that Fidel’s rants are repetitive, but any Cuba watcher in the last decade noticed the same thing. 
    If I may, I would submit that you, like probably all of us, have been anxiously waiting for SOME news of SOME kind of change since July 31.  I personally was unable to do any work and trolled the internet for hours at a time following the early August announcement.  I also agree that Cubans are frustrated by the lack of news about his condition.  But, while things may be tense and frustrating on the island, I think all of us extranjeros need to keep in mind that stability is what we want.  Yes, we may advocate for change, possibly drastic change, and we are all tired of some of the old restrictions.  However, repeating over and over that you think Fidel’s death will lead to chaos does nothing to help this argument (not to mention delicate political issue) progress.  In fact, it only serves to add fuel to the smoldering right-wing’s fire.
    Let’s keep our eyes on the prize here.  I know that the last thing most Cubans want is chaos.  Let’s work to prevent it.


  14. Follow up post #14 added on May 17, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    abh,

    Thanks for your comments.

    First, I realize there is stability but I addressed that in the initial post. While Fidel is alive there will be stability. It’s his death that will be so disruptive on the island and off that we cannot “prevent” chaos.

    Once again, I do not advocate violence or chaos and do not want to see chaos. 

    I don’t think my words are going to cause chaos. I am just trying to lay out the situations that may occur after the announcement of Fidel’s death.



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  15. Follow up post #15 added on May 17, 2007 by J. Perez

    Publisher,

    I understand your concerns and they are not unreasonable, however, I still believe that if the leadership acts intelligently chaos can be avoided. What people are going to be looking for are reforms, not a civil war that could bring about outside interference.


  16. Follow up post #16 added on May 17, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    I agree. I am not saying the people will be the ones causing the chaos.

    I guess I am saying that instability within the government will cause the chaos.

    The majority of the Cuban people will have the chaos forced on them by the minority.

    So whether the chaos comes from inside Raul’s government or it comes from the outside towards Raul’s government, I am not sure.

    I am not saying the Cuban people will be rioting in the streets demanding change. I have not listed “the Cuban people may riot in the streets” as one of the points.



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  17. Follow up post #17 added on May 18, 2007 by James August

    Publisher,

    How many trips to Cuba do you have under your belt?


  18. Follow up post #18 added on May 18, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    I have been there once.

    Are you asking because you think I am not qualified to make this prediction?

    If that is the case, you are welcome to post your own comments and arguments against the content of this post.

    Please stay on topic.



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  19. Follow up post #19 added on May 18, 2007 by James August

    Pub.

    The $64,000 question, what do you base your predictions on?


  20. Follow up post #20 added on May 18, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    First, I don’t know if I would call them predictions although I did put that in the title.

    Anyway, I don’t see why this is about me but I’ll answer the question.

    I have been reading news stories, blogs and forum post about Cuba every day since sometime in 1998. I get dozens of news alerts daily on about 15 Cuba related keywords.

    I talk or exchange emails regularly with dozens of people in Washington DC, Miami, Europe, Canada and Cuba (in no particular order).

    I have read EVERY guide and many non-fiction books about Cuba. I have rented or bought every video on Cuba that I could find.

    I buy old Cuban memorabilia, books etc off ebay.

    I have been publishing the Havana Journal for over four years.

    I think I have earned the right to make predictions on my own site. You do not have to agree with them.

    So, how about you? What gives you the right to ask? What are your arguments against my predictions?



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  21. Follow up post #21 added on May 18, 2007 by James August

    I didn’t know I needed rights but here goes.

    Some of your comments imply that you have an intimate knowledge of Cuba and Cubans, then other comments indicate that you don’t, that’s why I asked how many times you had been.

    I’m off to the cabin for the weekend, have a good one.


  22. Follow up post #22 added on May 18, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Good point. I should not have asked what right do you have. Anyone can post any comments here so long as they are on topic.

    I just got the sense that you wanted to be confrontational without adding any constructive comments.

    So, can you elaborate?

    Tell me what doesn’t make sense to you and why.



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  23. Follow up post #23 added on May 20, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Humberto,

    You made one off topic comment but I allowed it. Your second comment was about Cuban history. Although we have a lot to learn from you, I must insist that comments stay on topic.

    This article is about the future of Cuba, not the past. The spirit of your comment was that no one can predict the future of Cuba because so many predictions have been wrong in the past so your point is taken.

    Sorry but I have deleted your comment.

    Please comment on the possibilities of chaos. That’s what this article is about.



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  24. Follow up post #24 added on May 20, 2007 by Mako with 172 total posts

    I have been to Cuba dozens of times ,including 4 times since “el jefe” ceded power to L’il brother. Change is inevitable as the revolution has lost the hearts and minds of the young people.There will be slow but necessary change ,economic reform first. (perhaps the Chinese model ?as their hegemony is growing)
    In spite of what Michael Moore thinks, health care is substandard(  I have toured many hospitals)  because their equipment is old and and hardly any thing close to state of the arts. Medicines and medical supplies are chronically short.
    Major politcal reform , won’t happen until both brothers take the long “dirt nap”. Change ? yes ; chaos no. Structure and control have been in place too long.  The CDR is watching


  25. Follow up post #25 added on May 20, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Mako,

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Yes the CDR is watching but aren’t people in the CDR those that want to succeed in Cuba? Will they “jump ship” if they see better opportunities?

    I’m sure officers in the CDR are very loyal but what if they see another opportunity or an opportunity to look the other way?



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  26. Follow up post #26 added on May 21, 2007 by Mako with 172 total posts

    No, the CDR are the true believers, faithful to the party, and get the spoils of supporting the system.  They will be the last to change. When they feel that the winds of change are inevitably going against them, they will change. But right now they are the single most important component of the status quo, and people fearing to organize


  27. Follow up post #27 added on May 21, 2007 by Humberto

    WE LEARN FROM THE PASS TO SOLVE THE FUTURE PROBLEMS, IF WE THINK THAT THE FUTURE OF CUBA WILL NOT BE CHAOTIC WITH THE EXISTING CONDITION OF ACTUAL REPRESION IN CUBA, IS NO SEEN THE FUTURE, REPRESION IN CUBA BY SPANISH GOVERMENT BRING THE CUBANS TO FIGHT
    MACHETE IN HAND AGAINS SPAIN,  AFTER REPRESION GENERAL MACHADO END IN A BLOOD SHED AFTER WAS OVERTROD, REPRESION WITH BATISTA END IN FIRE SQUARD BY FIDEL WITH THOUSANDS OF DEAD , REPRESION OF RAUL, WILL EN WITH BLOODSED IN THE CUBAN SOIL, THE CUBANS NOW ARE NO DIFERENT THAT THE CUBAN IN 1868, THE ONLY DIFFERENT IS NOW HAVE MORE HATE, AND MANY ARE MORE VENGATIVE.


  28. Follow up post #28 added on May 21, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Humberto,

    You make a good point. I will do some research but I think #17 on my list will have to be history. You are right regime change in Cuba has always been bloody.

    So, I think it is fair to add #17 Regime change in Cuba has been bloody and all Cubans know it. That could cause some chaos.



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  29. Follow up post #29 added on May 21, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Added

    #17 History of bloody regime change.

    #18 Power vacuum - Raul nor Fidel address the Cuban people.



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  30. Follow up post #30 added on May 23, 2007 by Mako with 172 total posts

    Humberto, if you think there is no difference between Cubans in 1868 and the Cubans of today, then I don’t think you really understand the massive impact to the Cuban culture of the last 48 years.


  31. Follow up post #31 added on May 23, 2007 by Humberto

    MAKO, The only that have pass in 48 years is the Time.  The regime has no
    leave any legacy.  I have taught with docens of people that have come to
    the US, and they don’t even want taught about Cuba, they want forget all
    those years there, is nothing good to remember, has been a bad dream, like the bad dream that have suffer the City of Habana with falling buildings, and History.  Fifty years wasted that nobody will remember in 5 years after the regime is over. Like happen in the URSS and his Satellites of East Europe. In
    life people remember the good, no the bad, we remember our mother and father alive, never dead in the funeral, or our neighborhood in the good moments playing baseball, or in the school, or with our sweet hard. Never cutting cane under the vigilance of a soldier, or waiting hours for transportation to go the our job, or weakening earlier to go to the Plaza of
    the revolution oblige by the CDR.


  32. Follow up post #32 added on May 23, 2007 by Mako with 172 total posts

    Humberto, The Soviet Union and the eastern bloc countries have still not recovered from many years of communism. They will recover, as Cuba will. It will take at least one generation. Remember the majority of Cubans alive today have never lived under any other system. Cubans are the most resourceful people I have seen on the planet, but it will be a long hard adjustment
    I leave for Cuba next week. I will update you when I return


  33. Follow up post #33 added on May 23, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Keep us posted. Have a great trip.

    See what people think about my worries about chaos after the announcement of Fidel’s death although you may not want to talk about politics.

    Anyway, take some video and we can post it here if you like.



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  34. Follow up post #34 added on May 23, 2007 by Mako with 172 total posts

    Rob, I have been going to Cuba for many years. While anything is possible my opinions are based upon conversations wth friends I have made over the last 10 years. My first trip was during the “special period”; the conditons were horrible. If there was not chaos and a violent ,bloody uprising then, I can’t imagine what would cause it now. The subsidies lost from the Soviet Union ,now have been replaced by Venezuela and China. While it is not Monaco,Paris or Beverly Hills, conditons have improved .


  35. Follow up post #35 added on May 23, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Fidel’s death is what I am saying may cause chaos.

    News of his death will rumble through the world like a huge earthquake and a tsunami will wash over Cuba from several directions.

    That’s how big Fidel is.

    Raul can not stand up to a tsunami.



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  36. Follow up post #36 added on May 24, 2007 by Roger Davidson

    Publisher -

    Your article is directionless, and actually perverse.  What is the point of setting out to prove that there will be ‘chaos’ in Cuba?  Besides that, you start out with a premise, and then go through the motions of working your way back towards that premise with a repetitive series of speculations.  If your original premise actually meant something, the rest might have some significance, but your overall statement - ‘There will be chaos in Cuba’ - is utterly vacuous, given that your definition of ‘chaos’ varies clumsily with each attempt you make to prove that that chaos will occur.  What, for example, does your statement that many journalists arriving in Cuba upon the death of Castro will “cause some chaos” have to do with politics?  I might also add that on the day of Castro’s death, millions of Cubans will go to the toilet -  “This could cause some chaos”, albeit a rather paltry, everyday one.  If you believe that there will be, say, civil war, or violent overthrow, or rioting, then you should stick to that, and make a progressively argued case for it alone - that would be pertinent.  Regarding ‘Reason 11’: is that a prediction or a speculation?  To quote you, “why do I think there will be chaos after Fidel?....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.”  If that is a serious prediction, then I think you are a crank; if it is a speculation upon a possibility, then your ‘argument’ is not an argument - it is a load of rambling guff.
      In any case, it suggests to me that the interest you take in Cuba is simply a distant, hobby-horse one, and one that is coloured by an appetite for sensation.  Whatever happens in Cuba (you, for all your ‘reasons’, *do not know*), it is of far more worth to try to look further ahead, perhaps using historical examples, as some posters with interesting things to say have done.
     
      So - your article gets a big ‘boo’ from me.

    Roger Davidson


  37. Follow up post #37 added on May 24, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Ouch.

    My only point is that I think SOMETHING will cause chaos in Cuba after Fidel’s death is announced.

    I am not advocating violence or chaos. I am just worried that internal and/or external forces that are out of the ordinary will be so disruptive that it/they will cause chaos.

    Can I predict the future? No.

    Can I speculate based on my years of studying Cuba and talking with people in and out of Cuba? Sure.

    Anyway, thanks for the review.

    Please read other articles here and post your thoughts.



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  38. Follow up post #38 added on May 24, 2007 by Mako with 172 total posts

    Roger, EASY BIG GUY ,EASY !!!
    This site is meant for intellectual debate on all sides of an issue regarding Cuba; not to attack people,because you disagee with their conjecture. You disagree with Publisher ,FINE. Dont make personal attacks. Make points that foster lucid discussion. We all agree no one knows for sure what will happen in Cuba after El Jefe” takes a “dirt nap” ,but ANYTHING, is possible.It is ALL speculation. I am going next week and even though I vigorously disagree with Publisher, about “chaos"I have no idea what the future holds. A severe outbreak of Dengue could. POSSIBLY cause chaos. An unexpected military coup cause domestic turmoil


  39. Follow up post #39 added on May 25, 2007 by Anatasio Blanco

    I don’t know that there will be chaos after Fidel’s death. Certainly it’s possible but one must remember that the Stalinist system is well entrenched in Cuba. The military leaders have been bought with tourism dollars and will most likely support Raul - a ruthless military leader. I would imagine the real chaos will begin after the departure of Raul.

    That said, there are many sources from Cuba telling folks outside the country about accounts of generals and other higher-ups who are shuffling money out of the country -  a sign that something could be amiss.

    -Anatasio Blanco


  40. Follow up post #40 added on May 25, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    There may be chaos but Raul might be able to manage or repress it.

    Regarding the generals’ money, there is no way to confirm that so I’ll classify your comment as a pure rumor and speculation.



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  41. Follow up post #41 added on May 25, 2007 by Anatasio Blanco

    Yest, it’s true - there is no way to 100% corroborate that (general money) - this is information I received from sources on the island but, who knows. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least however.


  42. Follow up post #42 added on May 25, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Thanks for admitting that. I’m sure your sources are better than mine but just seems like tough information to access.



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  43. Follow up post #43 added on May 31, 2007 by Roberto Coven with 12 total posts

    It is tempting and intellectually stimulationg to try to predict Cuba’s future.  So let’s say an oil tanker has been travelling in the same direction for 48 years, what could get it to change course in a ‘chaotic’ or dramatic manner?  A huge wave, a storm, a terrorist’s bomb?  With George Bush severly weakened and a good chance he will be gone physically or politically by the time Fidel dies, I see Cuba’s tanker turning like all big boats.  Slowly.


  44. Follow up post #44 added on May 31, 2007 by Humberto

    Roberto IF YOU PUT A HOLE IN THAT TANKER, AND COMENCE TO SPILL OIL, THE NATIONS CLOSE TO THE TANKER WILL TAKE IT TO PORT AND SOLVE THE
    PROBLEM.  THAT HOLE CAN BE “CHAVEZ” AND THE PROBLEM CAN
    BE THE CRISIS IN CUBA WITHOUT OIL FROM CHAVEZ., WE DON’T HAVE TO
    WAIT FOR BUSH, HILLARY, OR GORT, ANYWAY NO USA OR ANY OTHER NATION PRESIDENT HAS DONE ANYTHING FOR THE CUBAN FREEDOM.


  45. Follow up post #45 added on May 31, 2007 by Humberto

    WRITING ABOUT THE CHAOS IN CUBA, LOOK THAT THE HOLE IN THE TANKER IS GETTING BIGGER, IN CARACAS A UNIVERSITY STUDENT HAS BEEN KILL BY
    THE ADEPTS OF PRESIDENT CHAVES CALLED BOLIVARIANS GROUPS, THIS IS
    GOING TO INCREASE THE FLAMES IN THE BOAT OF CHAVEZ,  WORRIES ABOUT
    THE SINKING OF THE BOAT ARE FIDEL, RAUL, ALARCON AND HIS REGIME, AND THEY CAN’T DO NOTHING, THEY ARE WACHING IN PORT THE FLAMES IN THE
    HORIZON, AND THE CHAOS COMING.


  46. Follow up post #46 added on May 31, 2007 by Mako with 172 total posts

    I have just returned from Cuba and I posed this specific question to a few of my friends. The answer was interesting and fascinating.
    They seem to feel that there will be little chaos when Fidel dies. Raul, has the unyielding loyalty of the police, the military, and the CDR after more than 40 years of doling out the economic largesse that comes with political power. (hence only a minor possibilty of an early coup de tat). If Raul keeps a tight rein politcally, but makes minor reforms economically, he will buy some time to further consolidate his grip on power .  BUT he MUST make some economic reforms quickly. His “honeymoon” will be short.
    HOWEVER ( and this is where it gets interesting) according to my friends, depending upon how long Raul lives IF NO HEIR APPARENT “TO THE THRONE"EMERGES(and Raul becomes feeble or sickly).... there COULD be a very violent power struggle amongst the various leaders and factions,now jockeying for power in a post Raul Cuba. They believe there is a possibilty of a civil war, which if long and violent COULD POSSIBLY lead to US intervention .And I think we all know where that goes


  47. Follow up post #47 added on May 31, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Mako,

    Thank you for your effort and comments.

    It does make sense to me that Raul’s “honeymoon” will be very short but I had not thought about a civil war.

    What are the factions? Any idea?

    Anyone say that Raul would just leave the country like Batista?

    Sounds like you have good friends in Cuba.



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  48. Follow up post #48 added on June 01, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Humberto’s posts have been deleted for being off topic. Sorry Humberto but this is not set up as a forum where comments can go off topic.

    I want Havana Journal pages to each be about one topic.



    Cuba consulting services

  49. Follow up post #49 added on June 02, 2007 by Mako with 172 total posts

    The factions reach both ends of the spectrum. From the entrenched powers,who want to retain the status quo, generally the older generation , to the reformers who want a second revolution with western style demcocracy and a market economy ; generally the younger generation.
    I don’t see Raul having to leave like Batista, but the length of his tenure on the throne will be determined by his success at executing economic reform. Upon Fidel’s death , if he does not move quickly, I could see there being a bloodless coup, or him stepping down for “health reasons”. If he resists… it could get ugly.
    All speculation though. Anything is possible in Cuba…. grin


  50. Follow up post #50 added on June 09, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    I just added #20 reason and changed the title. Here’s the new words added to the original post:

    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.

    ——————-

    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.



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  51. Follow up post #51 added on June 11, 2007 by Jorge Gonzalez

    Rob: When did you matriculate in Wishful Thinking 101?

    Lattel and all the CIA types have been wrong for 48 years!

    Cuba will remain stable under Raul, and eventually we will have an honest and ethical president in the White House, and the Cuba embargo and travel ban will come to an ignominious end.


  52. Follow up post #52 added on June 11, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Jorge,

    I think most of my reasons for potential chaos are my own and I would not call it wishful thinking. I see MANY external and internal forces that will all be putting pressure on one man, Raul Castro.

    You think Raul can govern while any one of these things are happening?



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  53. Follow up post #53 added on June 12, 2007 by abh

    Publisher,
    In talking to Cubans, both here in the U.S. and in their native land, I have not found many who are crazy about Raul.  That being said, I feel compelled to state again that I don’t buy into the idea that internal forces will come together to topple the Cuban government any time soon.  I DO believe this is wishful thinking by some, especially those who have been waiting for a Castro-free government for 48 years.  The transition is in effect.  Raul is governing with Fidel in the background.  At some point relatively soon, Fidel will be gone.  Then, before too long, Raul will join him.  I think many wise Cuba watchers predict a gradual move towards some kind of social Democracy, similar to what is seen in some Northern European countries.  The obsession that many of us have with Cuba (and I consider myself a part of this group) sometimes, in my view, leads us to believe that a drastic change will come soon.  I submit that an analysis of the disjointed and small internal opposition will lead any observer to determine that the government will maintain control, change will be gradual, and stability will be the #1 priority.


  54. Follow up post #54 added on June 12, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Interesting. You say that Cubans don’t care for Raul yet you don’t think internal forces will topple the government. That may not be the most likely source of chaos but it is one to note.

    Regarding your last statement about stability being the #1 priority, I completely agree and that very item may be the “lid” that will get blown off the pot when the pressure builds.

    Raul might be SO desperate for stability that he may try to hard to lock down dissidents, protesters and other open forms of protest that the over zealous need for stability will be too far reaching and thus, in itself, instigate more protests and thus chaos.

    Sorry but I have been thinking about this “chaos after Fidel” for many weeks now and time after time, reason after reason I keep coming around to the inevitability of a horrific end to the Castro brother regime.

    I know, the smart money is on gradual change but just don’t see it as a practical reality.

    Again, chaos is NOT wishful thinking on my part.



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  55. Follow up post #55 added on June 12, 2007 by abh

    I just think it’s naive to think that the government will implode.  One thing foreigners often don’t understand is just how entrenched the government is over there.  As Latell states in the article you referenced above (Raul Castro:Confronting…):
    “[T]he first few months of Raul’s provisional government augered well for continuity and stability.  He made no obvious mistakes, the leadership class showed no signs of fissures, and the streets were calm.  The loosening of Fidel’s iron grip did not cause the system to collapse or even to quake, as so many foreign observers had always anticipated.  Underestimated and misunderstood for decades, Raul has so far been effective and confident in his new role.  Moreover, the revolution and the regime proved to be more deeply institutionalized than many had thought.”
    Also, I was just reading your other post on Cuban stocks to watch and clearly you have something to gain if things open up economically, so maybe there is some wishful thinking involved? wink


  56. Follow up post #56 added on June 12, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Just to restate my thoughts about chaos in Cuba.

    1. I am not advocating or wishing for chaos in Cuba.

    2. Raul can run Cuba for many years SO LONG AS FIDEL IS ALIVE. Once the death of Fidel is announced, that’s when I see all the potentially chaotic scenarios kicking in and not one day sooner.

    Regarding the stocks, yes, I own Cuba related stocks. I have a lot invested in this Havana Journal and I have over 1700 Cuba related domains that I have purchased from domain owners, hand registered and have to renew every year. So, yes, I hope to benefit from a more open Cuba or at least want the Embargo lifted so Americans can travel to Cuba.

    To be clear, I want political prisoners released, private ownership of land and businesses in Cuba, freedom of expression and press, freedom to assemble etc. If Raul thinks he can do all that, then I’m all in favor of Raul.

    However, he will resist all or most of these points and forces will be put upon him after the announcement of Fidel’s death that, in my opinion, will overwhelm him and the Cuban government.

    What happens when a government is overwhelmed with disorder? Chaos.

    Can Raul control the chaos? I say no.



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  57. Follow up post #57 added on June 12, 2007 by abh

    Your opinions are interesting, and many would agree with you.  Obviously, I too am watching this situation daily with great interest, and I agree that there is some danger of instability after Fidel is permanently removed from the situation.  However, I think the role of the Cuban goverment will be to stretch out this transition period for as long as possible, then Raul might begin to roll out a reform or two. 
    I still question your basic point, stated in your last post: “However, he will resist all or most of these points and forces will be put upon him after the announcement of Fidel’s death that, in my opinion, will overwhelm him and the Cuban govenment.”  I just don’t see much evidence to support this belief.  After reading Latell’s article I feel even more secure in the belief that there are no major divisions in the leadership that will cause chaos.  I guarantee that Fidel made Chavez promise that he would continue the economic assistance after the bearded one passes.  Also, Raul has been head of the armed forces since the beginning, and, as Latell explains, he has managed the most important force in Cuban society well.  There is clearly a loyal hierarchy that has been nurtured by the Castro brothers and it seems to me that the wheels are in motion for a gradual transition. 
    Let’s put it like this, and then I’ll try to shut up for a bit: until I see SOME SIGN of internal strife, I expect the status quo to continue, for better or for worse.


  58. Follow up post #58 added on June 12, 2007 by Anatasio with 36 total posts

    An interesting theory, Publisher.

    One of the things I worry about with regards to chaos post-Fidel however is the threat from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

    Chavez recently announced his intention to form a new defense pact under the auspices of the ALBA trade group. You can get the details from the “Chavez Offers Another Threat to Cuban Citizens” post on Babalublog. I won’t bother posting the entire story here.

    If chaos ensues after Fidel’s death and this ALBA defense pact does come to fruition - I fear Venezuelan troops could come to the regime’s rescue, setting the scene for a violent blood bath that would no doubt draw U.S. troops into the situation.

    I certainly hope not but Chavez’s meddling in the affairs of the Cuban people is notorious.


  59. Follow up post #59 added on June 12, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    abh, internal strife is only maybe 2 or 3 of my reasons for chaos in Cuba. Re-read all my 20 potential scenarios in the original post. One chaotic situation may lead to another and another.

    Also, Chavez just arrived in Cuba. Notice Raul was not at the airport to great him. I think someone here mentioned that Chavez doesn’t like Raul.



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  60. Follow up post #60 added on June 16, 2007 by jose cadenas

    hurricanes transformed cuba in the 18 century, the same situation exist today…chaos and government incompetance, inablity to provide essential services… water,electricity,food….they barely get by now… a category 3 hurricane striking havana is big time chaos…. could force the transition into gear..an angry hungry mob is capable of anything…..


  61. Follow up post #61 added on July 06, 2007 by Anders

    This topic is of course interesting as a circus of thought but is tending towards more circus than thought, I´m afraid. I´ve visited Cuba several times both as a tourist and in business and know plenty of cubans living around Europe. A couple of friends in Sweden have cuban wifes asf.

    My impression of the present system is that it is very stable. It is well organized - something scandinavians are pickish about - well founded and institutionalized and citizens make a difference in between the Podres Populares system ( which is impressively democratic in several respects even by Scandinavian standards and we have the best functioning democracies in the world ) the PCC, Fidel, the mass movements asf. I have never met a cuban who doesn´t support the system of Podres Populares even if they dislike the PCC or something.

    Publishers concept seems to be Fidel and Raul are isolated in a tower and are leading some sort of classical dictatorship. This is completely haywire. For instance Podres Populares Communales are organized with some obvious resemblances to Scandinavian models and tens of thousands of people are involved in the everyday governing of their country.


  62. Follow up post #62 added on July 06, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Anders,

    Thanks for posting your comments here and on other articles.  We appreciate your insight.

    I can’t say I know what the Podres Populares means but it sounds like the ruling party or power structure.

    Assuming that that is the case, you say you never met a Cuban who doesn’t support the power structure. I suppose then that’s why you don’t think that Fidel and Raul govern from an “isolated tower”.

    Sure, tens of thousands of people are involved with “governing” each day but I wouldn’t call it governing since no one can act independently or run for office challenging the power structure.

    If you think the political structure of Cuba is comparable to that of Scandinavia, I fell bad about your country.



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  63. Follow up post #63 added on July 06, 2007 by Mako with 172 total posts

    Never met a Cuban who does not support the system ? ...and you think the PPC system resmbles the Scandinavian models ???  Anders have you been hitting the schnapps bottle ?


  64. Follow up post #64 added on July 06, 2007 by anders

    Dear Publisher,
    you say you are responsible for Havanna Journal - a most interesting publication that I enjoy reading from time to time - but do not know what the Cuban system of Podres Populares is. With all respect, sir,  but that is like claiming interest in world affairs not knowing what the UN is.

    Podres Populares means “Peoples Power” and referes to the governing and lawmaking political bodies in the country. They are at local, provincial and national levels and are elected through popular voting in one-man constituencies. They practice parlamentarism - which means the board is elected by the assembly.

    From a ballot of 2-8 candidates (a full ballot is the most common but this depends on whether there is a landslide candidate present or not. I´m aquianted with a baptist minister who always wins with 75- 85 % of the votes so the election commitee has to persuade some sure loser to run ) the voters make their choice.

    The ballots are established much in the same way as in Scandinavia. That means by popular movements and recognition by township assemblies. The main difference would be the cuban candidates are nominated by the voters themselves at local open meetings. A 50% share of casted votes is required so sometimes there´s a second run. Much like in France.
    The party has nothing to do with these institutions, they are prohibited by law, other than that it is common elected politicians are also party members. That ratio varies in between 30 - 70 %, I´m told.

    Anyone can run for public office, even persons with jailsentences behind them. Osvaldo Pay has been nominated at least a couple of times to his township assembly but never recieved more than 96 votes.

    A political system is a complex system. Of course there are huge diffences in between Scandinavia and Cuba but some things are stricingly similar. Therefor it is not impossible to understand how they have organized there society to us. Remember, scandinavians have very old democratic traditions. In fact Island have the oldest democratic constitution in the world, still running. 1200 years old. We have some experience in the requirements of popular rule.
    Anyone who speculates in the fragility of the cuban system will be terribly dissapointed.
                      anders agren, teacher and theologian(lutheran)


  65. Follow up post #65 added on July 06, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    We’re getting off topic here but I will make a quick comment.

    Search google for podres populares and there are basically no results. Maybe you are misspelling it or using a different term. Are you thinking about the CDR?

    Also, please don’t make the case that Cuba is a democratic country and how anybody can run.  Next you’ll say there are no political prisoners in Cuba.

    Please stay on topic about the possibility of chaos in Cuba after the announcement of Fidel Castro’s death. You don’t have to agree or disagree, just comment on the original article.

    Thanks.



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  66. Follow up post #66 added on July 06, 2007 by anders

    dear Mako,
    no I have not yet hit the schnaps bottle although I´m about to. It is Friday night and it is an old scandinavian tradition.

    You are confusing the PCC with the governing political bodies. Their party is seperated from the governing lawmakers. Citizens are appointed to the party by their constituencies after having served as politicians etc . So PCC doesn´t really select their own members and they certainly don´t make the laws. 
    It is more like a Council of Elders then a party of our kind. Good or bad ? Don´t care much. It is their problem. As a scandinavian national independence is one of the few things I´m fanatical about. Let people have their own ways. In the old days we appointed people to the House of Knights after a career as civil servents. The english have their House of Lords still.

    One similarity in between Cuba and the Scandinavian countries is that the parties and popular mass movements are compulsary institutions of referens. Every Bill is, after being read in the assembly sent to these movements and parties for debate. Before the second reading in the assembly the answers from the institutions of referens are considered in a rewritten Bill.


  67. Follow up post #67 added on July 06, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    And then everything is run by Fidel for his approval. When there is no more Fidel, I don’t think Raul can handle the pressure.

    Your view or order and “democracy” in Cuba will collapse. Just my opinion but it’s a house of cards and Fidel is the ONLY person holding it together.

    Raul will try but internal and external forces will be too much for ANY man once Fidel’s death is announced.

    Who knows, maybe he’ll live forever, just like Bin Laden.



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  68. Follow up post #68 added on July 06, 2007 by Mako with 172 total posts

    Yes Anders ,I know about the Schnaps tradition. I attended the University of Kobenhavn. I got “over served” once or twice while I was there :-  )
    Seriously, I think you underestimate and degrade the progressive nature of your political system when you compare it to Cuba’s. The Scandinavian countries are democracies with multiple parties and idealogies. Freedom of expression and political dissent is encouraged. In Cuba ,if you do not tow the party line, life can become very difficult . Unless things have changed recently in Sweden , I don’t recall people being persecuted for being vocal members of the loyal opposiition.
    Saying Cuba’s politcal system, in some ways, resembles Sweden’s, is like saying my golf game resembles Annika Sorenstam’s. : -)  Same game, but that is where the similariites end.
    By the way, I love Sweden. It is a great country . Skol !


  69. Follow up post #69 added on July 06, 2007 by anders

    dear publisher,
    I´m trying hard to respect the topic. I have also understood it as “will chaos come”. I obviously do not believe so because I see their system as very stable and I have tried to describe it briefly. I hope it has been helpful to some.

    I would not want their system in my country. There´s no need. We have one that works but so is theirs. Therefor the intelligent thing is to cooperate in trading, culture asf.

    Maybe you did not recieve any hits because I misspelt. “Poderes Populares + Cuba” gave me 16 200 hits with 3000 scientific articles.

    CDR - Committee for the Defence of the Revolution is one of the recognized mass movements. They organize people much like a rentals organisation and pretty much everybody is a member. Poderes Populares is the parlamentary system they have. I can´t help it but it does exist.

    In point #3 you wonder if chaos will come if they open up to quickly. Well there are noumerous italian, spanish and canadian companies there already. They have a very strong position in tourism and mining. Mexico has a huge position in their oil industri and Pepsi Cola are selling all they can.
    Wouldn´t chaos have come already ?


  70. Follow up post #70 added on July 06, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Anders,

    Thanks for the information.

    My whole “chaos theory” is that chaos MAY occur AFTER the announcement of the death of Fidel Castro. Up to that point, I make no predictions.

    Things could stay the same, things could open up. Too hard to tell with Fidel alive. Once he is dead, it is my opinion that Raul would not be able to hold back the internal and external pressures that will no doubt descend upon him in the hours and days after the announcement of Fidel’s death.

    Until then, Raul will probably do just fine maintaining the status quo.



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  71. Follow up post #71 added on July 07, 2007 by edward with 65 total posts

    I don’t buy into the theory that there will be chaos after Castro, some factions of America would like this scenario but I think we are seeing an evolving administration which has firstly to ensure that the economy, with or without the embargo can run as efficiently as is possible. This means building new trade avenues, maximising the raw resources that Cuba has at it’s disposal, which are considerable and demonstrating to the Cuban people that they they are prepared to make some concessions and will seek to implement some reforms leading to increased liberalisation.

    It’s not through choice that the government are doing this but by the circumstances in which they find themselves. By making small and in my view overdue adjustments to the apparatus it will act as a valve allowing a gradual transition in a controlled and careful manner. The important thing for the government is that they hold onto their ideals and values. In order to achieve this they will have to show their people that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It can be done if it’s done right, but they only get the one chance, caution is the byword.


  72. Follow up post #72 added on July 07, 2007 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    i’m a canadian who has been a 2x tourist this year to varadero - so probably not the best to comment, but .....
    since the hotel i stayed at was 95% used by cubans, I mades some friends during first visit which was reinforced during second visit.  Had some surface discusion with a few cubans re cuba after fidel’s death and one thread seemed common - they felt there will be stability within but fear that either the us govt or miami cubans will try to take advantage of fidel’s death to cause chaos.  As for one who was living in Berlin when the wall fell and the rapid fall of the post-Honniker DDR (East Germany), i’m watching for parallels and contrasts to get ideas on how cuba will go.
    Remember no one has the crystal ball to know how things will change in post-Fidel Cuba, so each opinion is as strong as the other because thats all they are - opinions.
    Just my two cents worth.


  73. Follow up post #73 added on July 07, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Fair enough, good comment but I have to ask…what hotel in Varadero is occupied 95% by Cubans? I’m curious because it is my understanding that

    a. Cubans cannot afford Varadero and

    b. Cuban are not allowed in Varadero unless they are working there.

    Looking forward to the reply.



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  74. Follow up post #74 added on July 07, 2007 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    Islazul Villa La Mar
    3ª. Avenida e/ 28 y 30, Cuba
    Rooms: 264

    From what I understand the Islazul chain allows Cubans.
    Further from what I understand, the Cubans guests were not ones who chose to go there for a family vacation but are given a vacation there if they exceed their quotas etc. We eat the same food in the same buffet room, drink at the same AI bars and enjoy the same floor shows at night.  But there is very little social interaction - more with hotel staff. In the town part of the beach you’ll see primarily Cuban families on th beach.  Further up the peninsula, hotel security an police spotchecks make sure these Cubans dont accidentally wander up there where the 4 and 5 star hotels are.  There is a usually unmanned police checpoint at the entrance to Varadero tho. Altho I hear that the powers that be try to minimize contact between Cubans and tourists they’ve pretty well lost the battle.  Go to any clubs in Varadero - my favorite was Calle 62 - and you’ll see so much intermingling only a blind cop could miss it.  And these are hundreds of Cuban youth with designer jeans, cellphones and paying in CUC. 
    Not representative of what I saw in Matanzas or Santa Clara though.


  75. Follow up post #75 added on July 07, 2007 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    btw, I also went down there with the understanding that only Cubans allowed on the Varadero peninsula were workers who worked there. - that wa debunked very fast.  Dont know when it changed or if its “officially” changed.  Also since most hotel employees either ride supplied buses or take the peso bus to/from their hotel jobs, the large number of cars entering Varadero that didnt have rental plates also suggest thats no longer the case.
    Within Varadero aw very few uniformed police but lots of hotel security.  But on road to/from Habana so many police and tranportation authority spot checks i stopped counting.


  76. Follow up post #76 added on July 07, 2007 by anders

    perhaps I can shred some light on “the matter of Varadero” and ordinary cubans around tourist facilities. I have also visited the Varadero peninsula and several other tourist locations.
    Islazul is a cuban company, one of the major hotel corporations. There are several. All hotels owned in joint ventures or otherwise primarily directed towards international tourists have reserved qoutas for cuban nationals. This have always been the case and is intented to counteract segregated touristquarters.

    Varadero is a free port area. That means imported commodeties can be brought there tax free so the uninhabited policestop manfred saw is actually a customs control. the small harbors they have at the top of the peninsula were full of yachts when I visited.

    the 4 and 5 star hotels are “all inclusive” - visitors pay a one time amount for full services wich include food and drinks at the bar by the beach. I have also been politely asked to leave when I came to the wrong hotel.

    The “security staff” are uniformed guards belonging to a company specialised in such duties. the most frequent have yellow-and- brown uniforms. the father of a friend of mine was somehow involved in starting one of them many years ago.

    I have promised to maintain the topic so here is my comment on #11. “natural disasters like hurricanes may hit and cause chaos”. Well, unfortunately for the cubans this happens every year. they have developed great skills at handling evacuation, food and health relief recently practiced in Pakistan and Indonesia by their international relief brigade. they mobilize in 6-48 hours I read in an Indian magazine. Cuba offered its services to New Orleans the day after but where denied.


  77. Follow up post #77 added on July 07, 2007 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    at our hotel and many others that i saw the security guard are all clip on tie and blazer types.  (did see some heavier ones though).  A couple of ones at teh villa la mar spoke very good english and a friendlier group I couldnt ask for - far from what i expected in a totalitarian state.
    In Santa Clara however in the bus depot at the entrance to the interprovincial lounge, the female security guard, although unarmed could have come out of a state trooper ad - complete with long beton.  As a tourist I just got a quick look at my bus ticket - Cubans however had both ticket and ID cards closely examined both upon entry to the lounge and again at the door to the bus bay.
    I also undertand when a hurricane does threaten they are very efficient in moving tourists and locals inland and to safety


  78. Follow up post #78 added on July 08, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    I would like to thank everyone for their insight and comments to this article. I think it has been commented on enough times so I am closing this article to comments.

    To continue on the “Cubans in Varadero” comments, I have started this article “Is Varadero Cuba? - status of Cubans vacationing in Varadero”



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  79. Follow up post #79 added on July 18, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    I have received a few emails from people who offered comments on this post so I figured I would open up the comments box again.

    Please keep comments relevant to the potential for chaos in Cuba after the announcement of Fidel Castro’s death.

    Most people do not agree with my opinion and that’s fine. I think everything that can be said about the potential or lack of potential has been said but let’s see what others have to say.



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  80. Follow up post #80 added on July 19, 2007 by C.P.Reid

    Of course there will be changes. Not all for the betterment of the people, but most will be, I think. Thinks will be hectic at first, but rest assured, this has been planned for the last 20 or so years. The U.S./Russia/China and oil rich South Americans will all want their thumb in the pie. From the bottom of my heart, I wish the friendly island the best. C.P.Reid…...Canada.


  81. Follow up post #81 added on July 19, 2007 by Anatasio with 36 total posts

    One of many things that worries me with regard to this topic is the human propensity for revenge. Perhaps this won’t happen until Raul is gone as well but, the pent up resentment towards the CDR’s will most certainly have repercussions. One can only hope that those wronged by the committees will not resort to violence but rather, allow a new democratic government to find a moral and just solution to the crimes committed by the neighborhood spy network members. God knows, a part of me would love to get revenge on those creeps after having been wronged so many times by committee members. That however, will only breed more resentment and anger.

    Anatasio Blanco


  82. Follow up post #82 added on July 20, 2007 by dnozica

    Hello,

      I just hope that, whatever comes, it will be peace there and people could live on. The fight for power and greed is most common outcom in such cases and I’d really like to se cuban people come out of this one as a winner…. Socialism or capitalism or watever system there will next…

    Greetings to Cuba from Europe!


  83. Follow up post #83 added on July 20, 2007 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    of course, since nobody has a crystal ball, all we can voice is our opinions but I expect if Cuba does transition or abruptly throw off socialism/communism, it will probably be as peaceful as most of Eastern Europe did - violence was minimum.  Again I can best use the East German example since that was the one I was most familiar with:
    SED officials (loosely equivalent to the CDRs) and Stasi (secret police) officials were more or less blacklisted from civil service jobs, some show trials were held of a few top officials (most were deemed to old and feeble to stand trial) and border guards who killed those trying to escape were rounded up and tried (with most getting suspended sentences) and life went on with most people more concerned how they were going to fit in to the western system than trying to get revenge for what the SED did for 50 years.


  84. Follow up post #84 added on July 20, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    I agree. The Cuban people should be well rewarded for their struggle and I think they will be.

    There will be good international jobs for them, development and investments and aid from around the world.



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  85. Follow up post #85 added on July 20, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Let me pose the question, can there be chaos without violence.

    I think many people have a hard time with my idea about chaos because they do not see the Cuban people as potentially violent.

    Can chaos be a work slow down, a quiet non-violent protest that brings the country to its knees? Can the exodus of people be orderly and overcrowd mariel, cojimar or other places forcing the government to allocate resources to monitor and control the situation.

    Can a hurricane be so devastating that the government is overwhelmed?

    I can probably go through many of my points and come up with a non-violent scenario that would still be considered chaos.

    Just asking. Is there such a thing as non-violent chaos?



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  86. Follow up post #86 added on July 20, 2007 by Rogelio

    Your comment #17 about regime change in Cuba always being bloody is a bit bizarre. First, Jose Marti had hardly anything to do with the Ten Years War (1868-78); he was the architect of the War of Independence (1895-98). If by “regime change” you mean the imposition of a US puppet regime, of course that will be violent. But, if by “regime change” you mean a succession in which one leadership group is replaced by another leadership group possessed of approximately the same ideological colouring the the history of Cuba provides something of a mixed message. In two of the elections in the early twentieth century there were violent uprisings by the losing side which claimed (with justification) there had been fraud. However, Batista’s election in 1940, the election of his opponents in 1944 and 1984, and even Batista’s coup of 1952, were not accompanied by violence or even chaos. The transition that occurred early in the Cuban Revolution as the Castros and Guevara took over from the liberal reformers was relatively smooth and peaceful. Cubans on the whole are quite orderly and have been becoming more orderly as history proceeds.


  87. Follow up post #87 added on July 20, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Castro changed Cuba forever so I don’t think it’s a fair comparison and no, I don’t think a US puppet regime is likely.



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  88. Follow up post #88 added on July 23, 2007 by Rogelio

    I said your original comment about Cuban history telling us that regime change in Cuba would be chaotic and violent was “bizarre.” Your reply is even more bizarre.  You say now that Castro changed Cuba forever. But it was YOU, not me, who offered the notion that what happned in pre-Castro Cuba enbales us to conclude that “history may repeat itself” and that chaos will arrive in post-Castro Cuba. If you now believe “Castro changed Cuba forever” I think you should go back to your point #17 and alter it accordingly.


  89. Follow up post #89 added on July 24, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    I found these comments from an anonymous reader to be interesting.

    Another reason for chaos in Cuba after the death of Fidel will be the
    drugs cartel which will benefit of chaos, like in Haiti.

    Also, Cuba is a military state. Fidel have a strong hold on the
    military, but Raul will not be able to keep the order. There will be
    disorder coming from the army ranks.

    Finally, don’t forget that USA has planted hundreds of “agents of
    change” in Cuba in the last years. They will deploy after the death
    of Fidel.

    But, chaos will not last too long because Cuban, in contrary to the
    Haitians, has learned how to settle conflict with intelligence. Also,
    Cuba is too close to the U.S. shore for a long lasting chaos.

    By the way, Raul is not the only one to watch: keep your eyes on
    Comandante Ramiro Valdez Menendez and is team. They will be the ones
    that will thrive on the events for building powers and $$$. Do not forget, Ramiro is the big boss of the Cuban most promising industry: information technology.



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  90. Follow up post #90 added on July 24, 2007 by Marek

    “Chaos”?  An odd term to describe most of the points you raise.  For example, points 8 and 14 in particular are unlikely to cause any disruption on the island at all - they’d never get near shore.  If any do manage to get through, the numbers involved would be easily handled by Cuban police.  Frankly, and with all sincerity and no desire to be condescending, many of your points indicate a superficial understanding of Cuba’s reality, and - to be frank - a very U.S.-origin perspective of the island’s politics. Ditto for some of the comments (in particular Humberto): much of the commentary appears to be what those who dislike contemporary Cuba want to believe, rather than what is.  Other random comments: Hurricane causing chaos? Unlikely.  I’ve experienced a few of the big ones in Cuba, and studied Cuba’s experience in dealing with hurricanes in general. There is no country on earth better prepared for civil defense.  The population is amazingly capable, calm and secure in the knowledge that their government - which is, despite the rabid claims to the contrary by the exile community - the people themselves, is prepared for anything.  Post-Fidel “chaos”? Unlikely. The claims of conflict between Raul and Hugo, like much of the talk surrounding the supposed power-hunger character of top bureaucrats - is just more of the disinformation effort that the CIA and the exile community ratchet up from time to time.

    In my personal opinion, the only possibility of any serious incident developing in Havana (and nowhere else) in a post-Fidel period would be one that is created, managed and executed by the U.S. Interests’ Section at their facility on the Malecón.  In the declining year of the Bush administration, a Grenada-style manufactured excuse for some sort of military action would not be out of character. The only threat facing Cuba is external.


  91. Follow up post #91 added on July 24, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Marek,

    Thanks for sharing your perspective. Just that I am convinced that change has to come to Cuba. Cuba has to join the global economy and (from what I understand) the people will not wait too much longer.

    Change MAY be orderly but I fear there are just too many factors that would need attention in the days and weeks after Fidel’s death and I’m not sure Raul is capable of dealing with one crisis after another.



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  92. Follow up post #92 added on July 24, 2007 by Rogelio

    Publisher,

    Like Marek, I don’t like to be condescending, but I think you are a bit out of your depth in discussing this issue. Your exchange with Anders revealed a rather shallow understanding of contemporary Cuban politics; other comments show you don’t know much about Cuban history; as Marek says, although your heart is in the right place and you do not share the FEELINGS of US foreign policy architects your KNOWLEGE, such as it is, is garnered entirely pro-US, anti-Cuban sources. It takes considerable effort and self-discipline to break from the prejudices of the US media and news regime.


  93. Follow up post #93 added on July 24, 2007 by Anatasio with 36 total posts

    One must also remember that it “takes considerable effort
    and self-discipline to break from the prejudices of the CUBAN media and news
    regime.”

    That said, changing the system post-Fidel is going to be arduous at best - Raul is well-entrenched and I don’t see much of anything happening until he’s gone. The hydra has two heads here and I think we sometimes forget that. Remember, Raul is even more blood thirsty then Fidel ever was - the classic ruthless military dictator. I guarantee you he would quash, using the most brutal methods available to him - any perceived threat to his power. The Cuban people know this. Every day we’re struggling with a fight to feed our families - that trumps any yearning for a rebellion.

    Furthermore, remember, the military leaders are paid off using the tourism industry, which they control - perhaps one of the smarter moves (I hate to use the term “smarter”) made by Fidel to ensure loyalty to the regime and not the people of Cuba.

    -Anatasio Blanco


  94. Follow up post #94 added on July 24, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Rogelio,

    You are being condescending but I won’t hold it against you. I have been following Cuba (granted from the US) since 1998 and have been Publishing this news and information site since March of 2003. My knowledge is NOT solely “garnered entirely pro-US, anti-Cuban sources”. Maybe I should read the Granma more often or perhaps read absent President Fidel Castro’s ten page “Reflections” to better understand Cuba?

    I think I know a think or two about Cuba. Yes, I have only been there once but my quest for information which includes the Internet, books, guides, publications and an international network of contacts gives me a pretty good perspective.

    So, you can disagree with me and say that Raul will run Cuba smoothly forever but there is no need to question my knowledge of Cuba therefore discounting any opinion I write.



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  95. Follow up post #95 added on July 24, 2007 by Marek

    Rob, in defense of Rogelio: no non-Cuban is ever going to be seen as being able to comment with any authority on matters internal to the island. Heck, even Cubans living abroad (I loathe the “exile” terminology) are not really credited with having much validity of perspective, since the foundation of that community arose from the privileged class which fled the island post-1959, and are naturally hostile to the Revolution.  The children of this generation also have little real understanding of Cuba, partly due to the scary stories they were raised with and the fact that the U.S. government makes it damn near impossible for them to visit their relatives.

    We non-Cubans can only strive to educate ourselves to the best degree possible, from as varied and *reliable* sources as possible, and with as much direct contact with Cubans *on the island* as possible.

    All that said - a return trip would be good for you.  smile  If you must. go through the motions with the Treasury Dept. for a journalists’ permit.  You *might* get one before Bush leaves office….


  96. Follow up post #96 added on July 24, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Point taken but dare I say that even Cuban citizens can not know what a post-Castro post-Embargo Cuba is going to be like.

    No one knows what will happen after the death of the father figure that ruled Cuba for generations.

    Sure, the safe thing is to assume that Raul will be President till he dies but even Rogelio cannot guarantee that.

    So, to me, EVERYONE is qualified to have an opinion about Cuba after Fidel.



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  97. Follow up post #97 added on July 24, 2007 by abh with 244 total posts

    At the risk of sounding repetitive:
    I think the point here is that why we sit around debating what will happen post-Fidel, the transition has now been going for almost a year with no chaos.  I’m a little surprised that those who were claiming there would be disorder right away have not recanted their positions a year later, but still continue to claim that chaos is around the corner.  Clearly, the leadership has planned this transition for years.  If you have listened to “non-exile” Cubans speaking outside of their country in recent years, you will have noticed that the party line has been modified to embrace a transition to more open markets and incorporation into the global economy.  I still have not seen any evidence that shows that such changes cannot be made under the umbrella of the current system of government, and, really, it would be hard for me to imagine any other government taking over.  The military is the stabilizing power, Raul is the military, the US is relegated to the sidelines, and the international community is not interested in radical change.


  98. Follow up post #98 added on July 24, 2007 by Anatasio with 36 total posts

    “the international community is not interested in radical change.”

    This is perhaps one of the saddest and maddening aspects of the Cuba conundrum. Despite how much we, the Cuban people, want change, much of the world sees fit to tacitly support the government that continues to repress us. I seem to be getting off topic however -

    Yes, the leadership HAS planned this transition for years and as I said before - putting the military in charge of all those tourism dollars ensures their loyalty. I suppose that’s why Cubans have such a love/hate relationship with tourists. While we need the tips and cash that tourists arriving on the island inevitably provide - we also realize that those same tourists are in many ways, responsible for the perpetuation of a reviled regime.

    -Anatasio Blanco


  99. Follow up post #99 added on July 24, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    You are correct on all points except my entire premise of chaos in Cuba depends upon the death of Fidel Castro. I don’t expect any changes until then.

    Fidel’s death will be the match that ignites the powder keg of change.



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  100. Follow up post #100 added on July 24, 2007 by Anatasio with 36 total posts

    While that is certainly a possibility, I tend to think chaos will only arrive with the death of Raul. Although, there is something to be said about reports of Cuban generals moving money out of the island over the course of the past year. Who knows - perhaps they know something we don’t. Well, I’d guarantee they know something we don’t but, you get the idea . . .

    -Anatasio Blanco


  101. Follow up post #101 added on July 24, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Hmmm, kind of like the Batista days.

    When will the Cubans realize that Fidel Castro is Batista and Raul Castro is the Mafia?

    Is Oswaldo Paya the next Fidel Castro? Fidel Castro in the sense the he overthrew and oppressive regime?

    I know, I’m getting off topic too. So, don’t answer the Paya question here, I just started a new thread here http://havanajournal.com/forums/viewthread/618/ making the comparison between Fidel Castro and Batista.



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  102. Follow up post #102 added on July 24, 2007 by abh with 244 total posts

    Anastasio:
    Just for the record, I recognize that Cubans are eager, even desperate, for change.  I think many in the international community can sympathize with the idea of yearning for freedom.  As far as relations with other countries, most nations will be interested in Cuba only as long as they can do business there.  Stability is usually needed in order to do business.  If you want stability you probably won’t be pushing too hard for regime change.  These are the type of lessons that global power brokers continually teach, and I would be surprised if they make an exception with Cuba.
    For this reason it is important for those of us who love Cuba and Cubans to keep the world community aware of what is needed in the island nation.  That’s why I think it’s so important for those of us in the U.S. to stay focused on ending the embargo, because it is the main obstacle between normalizing relations.  The multitude of complaints that anyone who has spent a few days in Cuba has must be addressed as well, but I doubt they can be heard in the current environment of economic warfare between the most powerful country in the world and an island of 11 million. 
    I see the cold war mentality that has frozen relations between the two countries actually beginning to THAW after Fidel’s death.  In other words, shouldn’t we be expecting things to begin to RELAX after he dies?  Undoubtedly, there will be simmering tensions, but I can see sadness turning into relief, turning into things slowly beginning to change.  Keep in mind, the prevailing mentality of the last 48 years in Cuba has been with la guardia siempre en alta and all this stuff, while the U.S. has increasingly tightened the embargo to squeeze the country more and more.  Imagine how much tension will be released when we finally move passed this heightened state of tension, aka cold war, and move into the next era of normalized relations.


  103. Follow up post #103 added on July 24, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Imagine when Cuba has free elections, freedom to assemble and freedom of the press!

    Imagine when Castro releases all the political prisoners.

    Sure, the Embargo has an effect on business but Cuba trades openly with the rest of the world but Castro is bad for business.

    So, I say you can’t do business in Cuba now so the stability argument is out the door.

    Let’s not forget that Fidel Castro is responsible for the economic and political condition in Cuba, not the US.

    Let Raul release some political prisoners then he has the right to ask for normalized relations.



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  104. Follow up post #104 added on July 25, 2007 by anders

    In the name of The Holy Spirit,
    how many chairs are you trying to sit on, Publisher ? It seems to me you are confusing everybodies right to have an opinion on cuban matters with the capacity to have on.
    At another string you have discribed your wish to be present as “a communication centre” and some sort of intermediary when the day Cuban economy opens up fully. Thats alright and legitimate but to me it seems your wish for this to happen as soon as possible governs what stories you believe.

    Your , and others, preoccupation with Fidel and Raul as governing royalty, not knowing what Poderes Populares is, total lack of knowledge of how cuban economy works today, how the international community ( with its contradictions ) actually has lined up on Cuban-US affairs asf strongly suggest you have your models of analysing politics from a US boss system or an old farytale book.

    The exile community is constantely descibing Cuba in pretty much the same manner as Crusaders descibe “the saracenes”. This is an attempt to maintain hostilities and avoid reconciliation. A true intermediary would look for the things that could bring people together.


  105. Follow up post #105 added on July 27, 2007 by juanmedg

    It’s not “podres populares” its “poderes populares” Literally means “popular powers”


  106. Follow up post #106 added on August 07, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Peter,

    Thanks for posting. Is this the site you mean http://secretoscuba.cultureforum.net/index.htm ?

    Also, do you think Nuevo Accion is a credible source. Anybody can make up a story.



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  107. Follow up post #107 added on August 08, 2007 by Cuba Journal

    Peter Perez wrote:

    Cubasecretos.com Is A Blog in Spanish ,which has become an official site for News Agencies to verify News from the Island, It Was Started By Delfin who defected to the US Not Too Long Ago.
    Well Tonight they are reporting Castro is Clinically Dead and connected to machines Awaiting orders from Family to disconnect him. It is also found at
    http://nuevoaccion.com/ Another Blog Started by ex -Cuban Intel Agents.
    No Major News agencies have made any comment as of yet.

    I say:
    This is more of the same crap. The hard line extremists in Miami live on three things: speculation, dreams and wishful thinking. No ponen una. When Fidel dies, there are plenty of capable leaders to take his place. What is important is to keep American influence in the island to a minimum.


  108. Follow up post #108 added on August 08, 2007 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    i’m not saying fidel is in good health or even alive, but i think I’d like to hear it from a more reliable source before I believe it.
    Could be above is reporting the truth, could be wishful thinking (as mentioned) or could be intentional misinformation campaign designed to stir things up.


  109. Follow up post #109 added on August 08, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Hard to say who will break the news first but it is probably safe to say it won’t be granma.

    I think people will notice something is different. Even janitors at the hospital will know that something is different because different people will be coming and going. No more daily visits from a doctor or something like that. MUCH tighter security around the hospital or maybe Fidel’s room is just empty.

    Fidel and the government have played hide the truth for many years but there will be some piece of the puzzle they will forget and someone will pick it up and tell their relatives about.

    However, the news will still be treated as unconfirmed reports.

    Is Radio Bemba a credible source?



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  110. Follow up post #110 added on August 08, 2007 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    again just a speculative mention on my part (don’t think any of us are able to do more at this stage) but i think that if fidel is really dead, the authorities would break the news.  I mean, they’ve had a year to get ready and are probably as ready as they can be.  To continue to say he’s alive when he isn’t makes no sense to me.
    If however he’s still alive but lost or losing it, I can see why the news makes no mention of that but continues to feed us canned feeds of a recovering Fidel.  Personally I think it would be a wrong move, but I can see enough reasons why the powers that be think differently.


  111. Follow up post #111 added on August 09, 2007 by pacster with 5 total posts

    Woodrow Wilson, Howard Hughes, and now Fidel. He’s not the first ruler or dictator to live on in death. I think the transition has been made, people will generally miss him. Raul is not strong enough to withstand much opposition, so the real fear as I see it is from outsiders butting in—the vast majority of them come from the good old USA. Including Condi, W, Karl, and Fred Thompson(especially). I also think the Miami Cuban-Americans will try to stir the pot to see what they can extract from the candidates now that an election looms in the not to distant future. The majority of Cubans are very much non-violent, so I don’t look for much more than young people celebrating, maybe a few fires, and some vandalism. Like when UNC beats Duke in basketball. It will be interesting, especially if the Cubans are left alone to work it out as they certainly should be. Letting Fidel trickle away rather than just up and die is probably a smart strategy.


  112. Follow up post #112 added on August 09, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    The end, or should I say beginning, is near. They are doing everything to make Fidel’s death a non-event but I’m not sure it’s going to go as smoothly as Fidel thinks.

    Sure the transition from Fidel to Raul has been smooth but Fidel tried to make it pretty clear that he is still in charge meaning that Fidel just could never allow any “transition” so I still see this all ending badly but hopefully well for the VERY patient Cuban people.

    Hopefully the Cubans will turn to Oswaldo Paya for guidance.

    Would that be a bad thing really?



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  113. Follow up post #113 added on August 24, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    More rumors right now at 4:47pm on Friday August 24, 2007.

    Please visit this post where I am posting all sources I can find:

    http://havanajournal.com/politics/entry/is-fidel-castro-dead-more-rumors/



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  114. Follow up post #114 added on August 25, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Last night there were rumors again of Fidel Castro’s death but no confirmation.

    Of course no one knows how this will all play out. After the announcement there will be chaos or forced calm. If forced calm, how long will it last? Will it be a peaceful transition with Raul at the top? Will there be a bloodless coop with Raul leaving the country?

    I think it depends on how the announcement is done. Will it be a “page 3 in Granma” announcement like I mentioned in another post or will it be a big announcement with a big funeral?

    I would like to read your comments about the death and funeral of Fidel and if Raul can govern so I posed some questions here Comments on the death and funeral of Fidel Castro and beyond.



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  115. Follow up post #115 added on August 25, 2007 by pacster with 5 total posts

    Perhaps an “end is near” sort of announcement to set the stage. Have some rallies or convocations of mourners to make the point. After a few days, let him quietly pass away. Immediately declare days of morning, allow the country’s churches and religious leaders to take an active role in remembering the positives, and grant a few new freedoms. Release some dissidents to great fanfare. Have a state funeral and invite leaders from all over the world to come. No doubt many won’t. Try to quash the idea of celebrating his death as some great giant step for freedom even if it is. Encourage people to act civilly even if they don’t want to. Show respect for him. Arrange immediate conversations with Cuban leaders and the leaders of the Cuban-American community, have some sort of conference or congress in order to find some degree of commonality amongst these groups. Let the Cuban Americans know their claims to property are pretty much gone by the way while aasking them to re-0invest in the country. This will require support of the US government. De-politicizing this situation will be good for all. In short, both sides need to let reason prevail.


  116. Follow up post #116 added on August 25, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Well said. I’m not sure it will play out that way but that sounds like a great scenario but I think many people will have a problem with this line “show respect for him”.

    I would add to this scenario…Give Raul one month to make changes to the politically and economically repressive system and not just talk about it.



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  117. Follow up post #117 added on August 25, 2007 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    give Raul one month to make changes?  Think they’ve been happening slowly and quietly.  Thgree dissidents have been released, Raul admitted that the economic system has been made a mess by “the system”  Some are hoping for a major major change since it’s really needed;  myself I see more of little things happening like I just mentioned.  And they’ll keep getting more frequent and bigger until one day, just like in Europe, they’ll wake up and find the system is totally changed. 
    Again just one man’s opinion.


  118. Follow up post #118 added on August 25, 2007 by pacster with 5 total posts

    W. & Condi should put the three of us in charge of the US attitude toward the transition to as Fidel-less Cuba! I, for one do respect him. He had a lot of power, he was very young and inexperienced, he used it both wisely asnd terribly, but he outlasted 10 US Predsidents, Only Queen elizabeth has been around longer. Many of older Cuban friends used to tell me. “Communista, no. Fidelista, si.” Hasn’t been a revolution yet where the losers weren’t really pissed. This was no different.


  119. Follow up post #119 added on August 25, 2007 by anders

    Great, I think pacster has got something there ! “communista,no. Fidelista,si”. This is also my experience. Not that PCC lacks support, far from but people in general seems to make a difference in between the party, Fidel and the Poderes Populares. The Peoples Power system runs tremendous support - why not - people are governing them selves through it. Mind you, most politics are local affairs, on Cuba as everywhere else in the world. Why would you not support a system where you yourself is most likely to end up in a political position sooner or later ?
    The PCC however is viewed, at least in some regions, as stalemates. They are too slow, too conservative or wooried or something. In regions like Cienfuegos or Bamayo this is not the case, though.
    Fidel is generally viewed as the intermediary in between factions and “our guy”. Don´t forget he has travelled the country a thousand times paying attention to ordinary everyday issues and through dialogue in the streets both collected demands and litterally educated people like a schoolteacher.
    And “giving Raul a month” only shows one has no idea how much change the country has undergone since the 80s. If one believes nothing has happened there take some time and study how they have transformed agriculture during the last 20 years !


  120. Follow up post #120 added on August 25, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    anders, you are funny. Castro has done such a good job with agriculture that no one has any food. Go figure.

    You can grow sugar with your eyes closed in Cuba yet somehow they have closed half the sugar mills.

    A great communist system at work.

    Everyone is equally poor. That’s the motto of the great egalitarian society. Nice.



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  121. Follow up post #121 added on August 26, 2007 by anders

    Well, Rob. Of course I´m funny, my friends love me ! But nothing in my previous lines where a joke. On the contrary, my referens to cuban agricultural transformation over the last 20 years where intended to make it easy for you. Since the entire world knows of the remarkable developments I hoped you or someone else would contribute constructively.
    You have obviously missed that FOA has rewarded Cuba as the only ecological farming system in the world as of yet, the succes of urban farming and the comparetively smooth transformation of sugarcane plantations in to vegetables, fruits and other foodstuffs. Production/harvests fell catastrophically 92-94 but rose every year until 2005 when yields levelled out. Thats where the problem is today. No further increase in productivety which is essential to be able to redirect investments and further rationalisations.
    Sugar is a stupid thing to grow these days unless you radically refine it. Makes rum, candy, additives to canned food asf. The costs of production of sugar on Cuba are higher then world market prices. This is due to some wellknown conditions in Brazil, India aso. So your remark that closure of half the cuban sugar mills - should be farmed acres to be correct i believe - is a consequence of bad policies suggests agriculture is not your favourite subject.
    Obviously you and some others have missed about half of the state owned lands have been transformed to private cooperatives during the last 15 years which makes at least 75% of cultivated land privately owned on Cuba.  45% of cultivated land on Cuba are family farms which is a much higher ratio than in the US.  Does this make the US more communist than Cuba in farming ?

    Are you suggesting there is a famine on Cuba ? Is that why Fidel is dead ?


  122. Follow up post #122 added on August 31, 2007 by Cubana with 282 total posts

    Anders: a few facts for you:

    Cuba increased its food imports by 35% over the last 2 years.

    Cuba has 6.6m hectares of farmland but only 3.1m acres are under cultivation.

    Crop yields dropped 7.3% from 2005 (a severe drought year) to 2006.

    Conclusion?

    Cuba cannot feed itself.

    Reason?

    It still has far too many government owned farms and those that are privately held (by whatever definition you classify “private”) have to sell a large proportion of their product to the government before they can sell the remainder privately.

    Action to get out of this mess?

    “Necessary structural and conceptual changes will have to be introduced”. Depends what Raul means by this statement - I doubt however that it will mean the complete withdrawal of the government and governmental interference in agriculture, which is what is really required.


  123. Follow up post #123 added on August 31, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Send Archer Daniels Midland or Cargill down there and they will increase food production exponentially in a matter of years.

    It is really a shame how Castro has squandered Cuba’s opportunities in this new global economy.

    Maybe Cuban’s have had enough and maybe the farmer’s will all call in sick during harvest time.

    That might cause some chaos in Cuba!



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  124. Follow up post #124 added on August 31, 2007 by pacster with 5 total posts

    Of course there were abysmal failures of the revolution. There no properly educated economists or diplomates and the youthful revolutionaries thought that settling things with force was the best idea-sound vaguely famiiar? Because of the cold war attitudes and fears of Eisenhour and Kennedy we drove Castro into the communist camp. He was not a communist to begin with. Che was and many of the urban revolutionaries like Faustino Perez had communist leanings. The Bay of Pigs fiasco was as big a Marx brothers production as was the CIA exploding cigar and alopecia attempts to de-beard the dictator. The fact of the matter is that Cuba was ripe for a revolution. It would have happened with Castro or someone else. If there had been a social awareness and conciousness amongst the ell to do and the United States corporations, then it could have been avoided. Blacks were already revolting and escaping before the civil war started in the US-hey, one thing W has right is people want freedom.


  125. Follow up post #125 added on August 31, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Thanks for all your comments. I am going to close this thread since we are off topic now. If you would like to leave a comment about the potential for chaos in Cuba, please use the email link in the footer.

    See you in the next article grin



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