Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Castro Swap

According to LA Times and many other sources, Fidel Castro is stepping aside momentarily in anticipation of ongoing surgery, and handing the reins over to his brother, Raul Castro. This should not be a huge suprise, as Fidel is nearly 80 years old. Raul, however, is not much younger--75 years old.

Ruthlessness aside, Fidel actually does have a lot of popular support. How else could a Latin American head of state remain in power since the late 50's / early 60's? An iron fist will keep you in there for a long time, but probably not that long.

The transition of power to the next leader of the country and how it will happen has been a topic of much speculation over the past decade or two. There are many factors working against a peaceful transition.

To tell you the truth, I think the best bet is to have someone from Fidel's inner circle (ie Raul) replace him as opposed to just about any other possible scenario. I think that is the only way that Cuba could be propolled to some greater future--gradually. And the disappearance of the "Fidel" persona, will probably do a lot to take away some of the antagonism that exists. However, if some US-supported exiles from rich beach homes in Miami install a future head of state (some of them have been itching to do this for a LONG time), I can only image what sort of chaos will abound on this island.

The current residents of Cuba (to generalize a bit..) are likely mixed in their support for Castro. Some love him, others hate him, with many in between. But many of those that hate Castro, hate the Miami-exiles even more. I imagine that many Cubans who would welcome attemps to depose the Castros would fight even harder to ensure a Miami-based solution never happens.

Anyways, I'm no expert, but this subject fascinates me and I have read quite a bit about it.

To conclude, I think sometimes we need to consider that the best thing we can do to promote democracy and freedom is to fascilitate gradual and peaceful changes with popular support, not embargoes or violently installing new heads of state. Many of the regime changes and "pressure towards democracy" that we have supported ('we' being North Americans) have been nothing but a successful apologetic for Marxism (or whatever else may be the competing politic/philosophy of the day). Imagine how a quick and thorough revoking of the embargoe would take the wind out of much of Fidel's stance. He then would be forced to stop blaming the U.S. to some degree and would be more obligated to show what he is doing for his people.

Never underestimate the power of a strong vocal Miami lobby in all of this.

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Blogger Ian said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:07 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Just so everyone knows, I'm not censoring Ian's views on Cuba. His message wasn't about my blog post, so I replied to it privately and deleted the comment!

Sorry Ian :)

1:28 PM  
Blogger Ian said...

Oh, I get it. I'm not worth it eh?
We'll see about that. Time to get my ole friend Fidel to lend me a hand. He owes me one, I gave him a little "help" with that pesky Ernesto.

1:39 PM  

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