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HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

Fidel Castro’s final days? -  ASCE conference

Posted August 11, 2004 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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BY NAYIVA BLANCO | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Cuba experts told the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy that a weakened Castro could mean an unstable Cuba.

Cuban President Fidel Castro has lost his ‘‘prophetic, charismatic and inspirational abilities,’’ leaving the island’s political stability uncertain, the CIA’s former top Cuba expert said Thursday.

Castro is ‘‘no longer invincible,’’ said Brian Latell, now with the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. He was addressing the annual meeting of the Miami-based Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE).

Latell said Havana’s leader, who will turn 78 on Aug. 13, has ‘‘lost his prophetic, charismatic and inspirational abilities,’’ and as a result has become more constrained by aides, who now even write some of his speeches.

That implies that Cuba’s political stability is uncertain, and that its people could even face chaos or a ‘‘conspicuously military regime’’ if Castro’s leadership continues to deteriorate, Latell said.

Latell was among four panelists who addressed the opening session of ASCE’s three-day conference in Miami. ASCE is largely made up of academics and business people interested in Cuba issues.

Also addressing the opening session, Phil Peters, a Cuba expert with the Washington-based Lexington Institute, said the economic openings Cuba adopted in the early 1990s—after its massive Soviet subsidies ended—were positive in the beginning but `now we see things slipping into reverse.’‘

The island now has a ‘‘culture of illegality,’’ because of the mixture of private and state-controlled economic activities, and could achieve more positive results with ‘‘minor changes,’’ he said.

But as long as Castro is in power, Peters stressed, “they’re going to keep things as they are.’‘

Adolfo Franco, assistant administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, said that despite the Cuban government’s crackdown on dissidents last year, ‘‘there is an unstopable movement for change’’ on the island.

Member Comments

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On August 12, 2004, Jesus Perez wrote:

These so-called Cuba experts remind me of the Iraq experts that predicted our troops would be received by crowds throwing flowers at them. Yes, there is movement for change in Cuba, but it cannot come at the expense of the gains the revolution has achieved in education and health, to name a couple. Dependency from the U. S. like in pre 1959 days is not the solution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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On August 12, 2004, Dana Garrett wrote:

The history of the fantasy life of those who hate Castro is intriguing. 

The first fantasy (imagined soon after the initial rift between Washington and Cuba in the early 60s) was that the Cuban people would rise up, with considerable CIA assistance, and slough off Castroís government.  It never came close to happening.  Then the Bay of Pigs and the smaller and relatively unknown CIA invasion forces in the Escamby mountains were certain to do him in.  Of course, we should all know by now the scores of assassination plots and attempts on Castroís life, many comical (like exploding underwater seashells) but all miserable failures.  The ever-present embargo was supposed to do the trick “any day now” for the last forty years.  The USA-sponsored propaganda radio and TV programs have never incited the intended rebellion in the Cuban people, mostly amused smiles and, tragically, some Cubans dying on the ocean trying to reach the USAís shores.  The collapse of the Soviet Union was to be the ultimate catalyst for Castroís end as well as the cruelly timed tightening of the embargo during Cubaís difficult “special period.”  And now George Bush and a shrinking handful of extremists within the exile community believe restricting Cuban Americans from seeing their families in Cuba and sending them money will cause the end of Castroís leadership in Cuba.

Others, more cognizant of the USAís galloping history of failure in trying to oust Castro, have brilliantly struck on the plan that will, without a doubt, bring the end to Castroís rule: namely, he is elderly and will die some day. 

“Castro is ‘no longer invincible,í said Brian Latell, now with the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.”

What genius! 

Yet what idiocy for believing that the revolution in Cuba is about one man.  And what a dangerous miscalculation it would be for the USA government to assume that the Cuban people, having suffered the cruel effects of the embargo and numerous terrorist acts against their country for two generations, will welcome the USA as liberators after Castroís demise.

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On August 13, 2004, SonguaCassal wrote:

Someone made the comment that the revolution in Cuba is more than about one man, and I am glad to hear that some people are STARTING to understand this. The Cuban Revolution was more than Fidel and Che. It was more than Socialism and Communism. It was a cry for adherence to the law, to be one solidary country, not to be runned by a law bending dicator like Batista (or Castro by the way), or to be slaved by another country like the U.S. In the 1950’, it was the demand of the Cuban MIDDLE class (yes the middle class) for the country to follow the Constitution of 1940. Even Camilo Cienfuegos is quoted after the 1959 revolution by saying that the only thing needed now is the 1940 constitution. However, after president Urrutia (believe it or not but a president was elected after Baptista’ fall) Castro comes in by popular opinion and enforced his understanding of Communism as part of the Revolution, which is why many revolutionaries like Huber Matos began to disagree with the new changes and suffered the fate the government bestowed, and still betows, on them. The Revolution is greater than one man and it is also greater than a single ideology; Communism will rot a slow and painful death once Castro is gone.

With his death, Castro’ communism will lose it’ center and dissipate. That I assure you is inevitable, even if it occurs at a snails pace. However, the revolution, which has been going on since the 1800’ with Cuba’ first revolutionary, Rev. Felix Varela, is in the life blood of Cuba. With that it should be crystal clear that Cuba will try to, and should, resist not only the capitalistic US intervention, but also the socialistic interventions of France, and the like. And though a return to the 1940’ constitution will be highly unlikely, rest assure that there will be some consensus with that document as the Cuban people deal with the redrafting of the Castro’ constitution.

CASTRO will fall and the Revolution will go on. COMMUNISM will fall and the Revolution will go on. For as long as there is a Cuba, that remains as solitary as her star sealed in the blood shed by the heroic Mambises and whose three original sections shaded blue by the free sky is held together by the two white stripes of peace and justice, the Revolution will go on.