http://havanajournal.com/politics/entry/will-carlos-lage-be-elected-president-of-cuba-on-february-24/

HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

*Will Carlos Lage be elected President of Cuba on February 24?

Posted January 22, 2008 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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granma.cu

Back in May of 2007 I created the post Why there might be chaos after Fidel Castro’s death - prediction and it ran up to 127 comments. I listed more than 20 reasons why I thought then and still believe now that there will be chaos in Cuba after the announcement of Fidel’s death.

I think this chaos might be avoided if Carlos Lage is elected President.

If Carlos Lage is elected President of Cuba, this is good for many reasons (mind you my best scenario is a truly democratic election but I don’t see that until both Castro are out of the picture physically)

So, If Carlos Lage is elected this would allow Fidel to have an honorary roll while still being able to tell President Lage what to do. This scenario would also allow Raul to step out of the international public eye and go back to running the military and the travel industry also allowing him to tell President Lage what to do.

Sure Lage would make overtures of openness to the Cuban economy, political freedoms and maybe even offer to negotiate with a new US Administration but of course will have his hands tied by TWO puppet masters.

This would be a tough job for Lage and I doubt that he (or anyone) could survive for too long politically (or mentally) in this position.

But, I believe this is the best way to transition away from Fidel Castro’s Revolution and give some (probably false) sense of hope to the Cuban people and (mis)lead US politicians to believe that a new Cuba is underway.

So, do you think Carlos Lage will be the next President of Cuba and do you think this will be the start of a real or perceived change in Cuba?

Member Comments

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On January 22, 2008, nacho wrote:

I don’t make bets and least with Cuban politics. However, president Lage is where my money is as the most likely step and I am sure most preferred choice by all.

He is a civilian and he was 9 when Batista was kicked out and the barbudos took over.

Trained as a doctor, he is less inclined to follow up the military and seems key to any ecomomic reform or change that has taken place in Cuba since the early 90s.. He is more of a technocrat. Will he be happy as President or prefer to remain as Mr Fix-it almost the Cuban Prime Minister?

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On January 28, 2008, Cuban American wrote:

I can’t really say whether Carlos Lage will be the next president or not.  However, regardless of the final decision in the end he won’t be running the country.  I don’t see any “real” change in Cuba until the communist party has collapsed and the Cuban people are allowed to elect people freely, and put in place a system of checks and balances.

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On February 05, 2008, publisher wrote:

Sounds more and more Presidential to me…

Granma.cu

Lage receives European Parliament socialists

CARLOS Lage, vice president of the Council of State and secretary of the Executive Committee of the Council of Ministers, received a delegation yesterday from the Socialist Group of the European Parliament, currently visiting the island at the invitation of the National Assembly of People’s Power.

Prensa Latina reports that during the meeting at Council of State headquarters, the likewise member of the Political Bureau learned about the EP group’s main tasks from its president, Martin Schulz.

Schulz informed Lage of the work of other members of the visiting delegation, which includes Pasqualina Napolitano and Ralf Beste, vice presidents of the Socialist Group.

The European deputies, who arrived in Havana on January 31, also met with Government Minister Ricardo Cabrisas.

Their working agenda includes touring places of economic and social interest and a meeting with relatives of the five anti-terrorist Cubans incarcerated in the United States since September 12, 1998.

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On February 05, 2008, nacho wrote:

Interesting, but I think this is no diferent from other meeting with foreign dignataries…  most senior officials in the inner circle have done it and we all know Raul shuns this type of meetings.
Is there any indication of an increase in this?

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On February 05, 2008, publisher wrote:

Yes. Lage was at the ALBA meeting in Venezuela I believe and met with the Guatemalan vice president. 

Lage is acting like the President of Cuba should act.

Fidel is acting like a dying old man.

Raul is acting like someone who could give a shit about actually running a country.

Do you think Raul is running the country or is the country just running on autopilot?

If you ask me, Cuba is running on autopilot and Chavez is providing the fuel… literally.

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On February 05, 2008, nacho wrote:

Right on all counts!

I like the “Cuba’s running on autopilot and Chavez is providing the fuel” bit ... spot on!!

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On February 06, 2008, publisher wrote:

Released today from Reuters:

Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who has not appeared in public for more than 18 months, could retire from politics this month after almost 50 years at Cuba’s helm.

The following are possible scenarios when the National Assembly legislature meets on Feb. 24 to ratify the country’s top leadership posts:

CASTRO STEPS DOWN

* Fidel Castro declines the presidency in person or in a written statement to the assembly, citing his illness. He could also announce prior to the meeting that he is too weak to be eligible for the presidency. Either would be tantamount to his political retirement, ending an era that he has dominated since seizing power in a 1959 revolution.

* If Castro steps down, he is expected to formally hand over power to his brother Raul Castro, 76, who has run the country “temporarily” since Castro underwent emergency intestinal surgery in July 2006.

* The baton could be passed directly to a younger leader, such as Vice President Carlos Lage, 56, as the new head of state. Most Cuba watchers doubt such a big change will occur.

NO CHANGE

* Fidel Castro is unanimously proclaimed head of state, but again cedes power temporarily to his brother Raul Castro, as he did on July 31, 2006.

CASTRO PLANS RETURN

* Fidel Castro is declared head of state and announces that he is healthy enough to resume day-to-day control of the country. Most analysts think this is unlikely.

NEW ROLES

* Fidel Castro could remain on the 31-member Council of State, Cuba’s top executive body, but not have a leadership role on it, while continuing to wield power as first secretary of the ruling Communist Party.

* Cuba could reform its constitution to split the post of head of state (president of the Council of State) and head of government (president of the Council of Ministers), with either of the Castro brothers in the figurehead role, and Raul Castro or Lage in a prime ministerial role.

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On February 06, 2008, nacho wrote:

Wow… how long did it take Reuters to come with those scenarios? Have they been reading all the comments you’ve published here?
Anyway… my money goes to the last choice

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On February 06, 2008, publisher wrote:

Either way, February 24 will be a day to watch in Cuba.

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On February 08, 2008, Anthony wrote:

I think that’s wishful thinking. Carlos Lage as president would make Helms-Burton obsolete, but my hunch is that we are going to see the same old faces in the same old places come Feb 24. Seasoned Cuba watchers are not even banking on Fidel retiring from power and letting Raul try to fix the Cuban economy as president. That would be the best scenario for Cuba at this point, empowering Raul to undertake reforms. There are rumors that Cubans will be allowed to buy and sell their homes, stay at hotels and travel more freely. One thing is for sure: Raul has encouraged debate on what to change, and it will be hard to put the lid back on that genie, be it Fidel or Raul as head of state. The real issue is that they need to start delivering economic improvements, otherwise discontent with the system will spill over onto the streets.

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On February 08, 2008, publisher wrote:

I think if Fidel stays on as President that would be an insult to the Cuban people. They deserve better and just might start demanding it.

I’m not sure Raul can do or wants to do anything while Fidel is alive. I know I’m in the minority but I think he would rather be out of the spot light. He is not a reformer. I don’t think he is capable of that kind of big picture thinking nor do I think a Vice President of 46 years has the ability to change anything.

Sorry Raul but that’s how I see it.

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On February 08, 2008, topapito wrote:

Hey, saludos.

I am going to go with you on this Publisher, only I will take it a step further. I would seriously hate to be in the shoes of whoever is next. Apparently, Cubans are beginning to openly question their government. These questions are receiving less than serious answers. The people qill get braver and then… who knows?

All I do know is that there is no express cohesiveness on behalf of the government on how they plan to handle these problems. They have opened Pandora’s box by encouraging criticism, they will have to handle it properly or lose the people’s respect. Alarcon came off as extremely condescending and insulting to the University students in that video. Cubans will get more demanding, the government will cave. I agree with the chaos scenario unless they make some serious and popular changes.

Definitely worth watching.

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On February 09, 2008, Cuban American wrote:

The Cuban people deserve the basic rights of liberty, free speech, and the right to property.  Any leader who opposes this (Castro brothers, Alarcon, Lage and the whole Communist possy) is a bad move for Cuba.  I think chaos at this point would be better for them than another 40 year communist reign.  Lage won’t change anything.

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On February 09, 2008, publisher wrote:

AFP

Interim president Raul Castro has officially convened the National Assembly for a February 24 meeting to elect Cuba’s next president, amid speculation ailing Fidel Castro might not be its choice for the first time in almost five decades.

Under a decree published in Saturday’s official newspapers, Raul Castro, 76, summoned the 614 deputies—including himself and his brother Fidel Castro, 81—selected in an uncontested January 20 vote, to the late February gathering to choose the Council of State. Its leader is Cuba’s president.

Fidel Castro, Cuba’s leader since 1959, has not appeared in public since taking ill 18 months ago. Fidel Castro underwent major intestinal surgery and handed over power to Raul Castro, the defense chief, temporarily.

Now what remains to be seen is whether Fidel Castro will agree to be reelected president and perhaps stay on in a ceremonial capacity, keeping Raul Castro on as interim leader.

Or, experts say, Fidel Castro could opt to step aside and allow Raul Castro to become president permanently.

Perhaps a longer shot, some Cuba-watchers say, would be for Fidel to step aside and allow a younger leader to take on the job now, opening the door to extending the Americas’ only one-party communist regime well into the future.

On January 20, Raul Castro stressed that Cuba was facing “different situations and great decisions.”

END—————-

Count me in as the minority thinking that Carlos Lage is the new President of Cuba.

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On February 11, 2008, publisher wrote:

Ray Sanchez has a good summary of the possibilities for February 24 in his article Three possible successors to Castro as president of Cuba from today’s Sun Sentinel.

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On February 12, 2008, manfredz wrote:

when i was in Havana las month, only got together briefly with a cuban buddy with whom i can discuss cuban politics (cautiously) and he mentioned the above and a coule of other possibilities.
Think the bottom line is we can only speculate on what will happen since it wont be a majority choice that can be predicted by polls but a decision made by the Castros and a few inner circle figures who are holding their cards close.

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On February 19, 2008, nacho wrote:

Just in .. Castro has officially stepped down

http://www.granma.cubaweb.cu/2008/02/19/nacional/artic03.html

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On February 19, 2008, edward wrote:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7252109.stm

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On February 19, 2008, publisher wrote:

Interesting article from the Miami Herald Raul Castro not the only possible successor mentions Lage, Alarcon, Perez Roque, Ramiro Valdes and Esteban Lazo.

I think Fernando Ramirez should also be on the list of possible successors.

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On February 19, 2008, nacho wrote:

Lage will be the lesser of many evils. No one respects Perez Roque at any level. Lazo is too much of a peasant and Ramiro Valdez is too old and has been out of the game for some time

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On February 19, 2008, bernie wrote:

If I knew a bookie who was taking bets on the next president
of Cuba, I would not hesitate to put a hundred dollars on the
best candidate who would be Senor Alarcon, this is where the
smart money will be laid?????????

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On February 21, 2008, publisher wrote:

Here’s an article from the BBC on Carlos Lage.

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On February 21, 2008, Cuba Journal wrote:

Carlos Lage would be the best man for the job. He is relatively young and is totally committed to Cuban socialism. The idea that there is going to be a “transition” to capitalism and “money elections” is totally laughable. Cuba will evolve and change slowly, and if there is ever a responsible and pragmatic person in the White House diplomatic relations will likely be restored, but the Yankees will never rule Cuba ever again.

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On February 22, 2008, tiburon wrote:

yes carlos lage will become the public face of castro inc..,,mild mannered and has the looks of a decent person….he will become a “prop” useful idiot for the castros..on with the show..

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On February 24, 2008, nacho wrote:

Alarcon ratified as President of the Cuban parliament http://tinyurl.com/yv8duk

No changes there

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On February 24, 2008, publisher wrote:

Thanks for the update. I guess they are still voting in secret I understand. Not much of a democratic process but we knew that.

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On February 24, 2008, nacho wrote:

Yes, all in secret but that is not surprise. So far the only surprise is that Jose Ramon Machado Ventura is the nominee for VicePresident with Raul Castro as presidente. No mention of Lage yet according to Reuters http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSN1941945720080224

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On February 24, 2008, publisher wrote:

Not a very “progressive” ticket. Very unfortunate for the Cuban people.

If Raul thinks he can just keep promising change with little to no action, he won’t be President for very long.

I don’t see how having Machado in there as the #2 man is good for anybody other than Raul and the Raulistas.

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On February 24, 2008, nacho wrote:

Just confirmed http://www.granma.cubasi.cu/2008/02/24/nacional/artic33.html

Raul president and Ventura as VP

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On February 24, 2008, publisher wrote:

Same shit. Different day. Same old shit in Cuba. Very dissappointing. I hoped Raul had a vision for the country that might allow Lage to be the head of a Cuba in transition.

This is not transition.

Via Google translation:

The Army General Raul Castro Ruz, was elected by direct secret ballot of the deputies attending the first session of the Seventh Legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Power, as President of the Councils of State and Ministers.

This historic session of Parliament also elected to the post of First Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, as they serve as vice president Juan Almeida Bosque, Carlos Lage Davila, Julio Casas Regueiro, Esteban Lazo Hernandez and Abelardo Colomé Ibarra. Jose Miyar Barrueco will continue as secretary of this body colegido of state power, which also has 23 other members.

The State Council has 13 new members, which represents a 41.9% renewal.

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On February 24, 2008, publisher wrote:

I’m guessing this is the way Fidel wants it done.

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On February 24, 2008, nacho wrote:

Yes I am sure

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7261204.stm

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On February 24, 2008, manfredz wrote:

“The State Council has 13 new members, which represents a 41.9% renewal. “

This could be significant.

Remember in East Germany, when Honniker was convinced to “retire” and his deputy Egon Krenz took over, everybody expected more of the same since Krenz had been his deputy for decades as came from the same mould ....yet look at all that changed during his watch .....


Mind you there are a world of differces in teh state of East Germany then and Cuba now but still .....

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On February 24, 2008, publisher wrote:

On December 1, 2007 I posted the idea that Fidel Castro would not be elected President but now my crystal ball sees no changes.

Let’s talk about Raul as President and Machado as the new VP here.