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Cuba After Castro

Cuba After Castro: Legacies, Challenges, and Impediments

Edward Gonzalez
Kevin F. McCarthy
Copyright Date: 2004
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 152
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Cuba After Castro
    Book Description:

    When the end of the Castro era arrives, the successor government and the Cuban people will need to answer certain questions: How is Castro's more than four-decade rule likely to affect a post-Castro Cuba? What will be the political, social, and economic challenges Cuba will confront? What are the impediments to Cuba's economic development and democratic transition? The authors examine Castro's political legacies, Cuba's generational and racial divisions, its demographic predicament, the legacy of a centralized economy, and the need for industrial restructuring.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-3617-9
    Subjects: Political Science, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. The RAND Corporation Quality Assurance Process
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  5. Executive Summary
    (pp. xi-xxiv)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)
    (pp. 1-2)

    Cuba is nearing the end of the Castro era. The government that succeeds Fidel Castro—as well as the Cuban people themselves—will arrive at a decisive crossroads in the island’s tumultuous history. When that end arrives, they will need to answer a series of questions: How is the legacy of Castro’s 44-plus-year rule likely to affect Cuba after Castro is gone? What are the political, social, and economic challenges that a post-Castro Cuba will likely confront? What are the structural impediments that will need to be surmounted if Cuba is to develop economically and embark on a democratic transition?...

  8. PART I Political Legacies, Social Challenges

    • [Part I Introduction]
      (pp. 3-4)

      Signs of political change and growing uncertainty abound in Cuba. In the spring of 2002, more than 11,000 Cubans dared sign their names to the Varela Project, in which they petitioned the National Assembly to enact liberalizing political and economic reforms. Less than a year later, on March 18, 2003, the Cuban government responded by rounding up 75 prominent dissidents, independent journalists, and librarians, and sentencing them to prison terms of six to 28 years. Three Afro-Cubans, meanwhile, were executed for attempting to hijack a boat in a vain attempt to flee the island. When international condemnation of these actions...

    • CHAPTER TWO Castro’s Political Legacies: Caudilloism and Totalitarianism
      (pp. 5-32)

      The analysis that follows has two overarching themes. One is that the pillars of support upon which the Castro regime has relied over the past decades have either collapsed or been seriously weakened. As a result, the communist government that will likely succeed Cuba’slíder máximois likely to find itself in a tenuous position. The other is that thecaudillo, or strongman, and totalitarian/post-totalitarian legacies bequeathed by the Castro regime will greatly complicate governance on the part of the successor regime, whatever its character, and impair the emergence of a civil society that would be supportive of a post-Castro...

    • CHAPTER THREE Cuba’s Disaffected Youth
      (pp. 33-46)

      Generations of Cuban youths have served as important catalysts in the country’s political history. The Ten Years War (1868–1878), the War of Independence (1895–1898), and the 1933 revolution were ignited and led in the main by young nationalists. The attack on the Moncada Barracks on July 26, 1953, the opening shot in what would become the Cuban Revolution, was led by Fidel Castro when he was just under 27 years of age. Less than six years later, he had vaulted to power at the ripe age of 32. His brother Raúl was five years younger, and many other...

    • CHAPTER FOUR Cuba’s Racial Divide
      (pp. 47-66)

      During its first 30 years in power, the Castro government made impressive strides in promoting racial equality, in the process building a reservoir of political capital for the regime—especially for “Fidel” personally—among Afro-Cubans. To outside admirers and observers, Cuba appeared to have become a “raceless society.”

      However, racial prejudice and discrimination were not entirely erased from the Cuban psyche. Racial tensions resurfaced in the 1990s with the advent of the Special Period, because Afro-Cubans, defined as blacks and mulattos––especially blacks—were hardest hit by the crisis. Blacks and mulattos thus figured predominantly in the riots on the...

  9. PART II The Structural Challenges Ahead

    • [Part II Introduction]
      (pp. 67-70)

      The disaffection of Cuba’s youth, the growing racial divide, and the population’s more general disillusionment with the Revolution and even with Castro himself have been exacerbated by the economic crisis that began with the loss of Soviet economic aid. Castro’s halt to the modest economic reforms that appeared to be pulling Cuba’s economy out of the depth of the collapse has subsequently prolonged Cuba’s economic troubles. However, even were Fidel (or his successors) to reverse Cuba’s current economic policies, both the social welfare programs that were once the pride of the regime and the Cuban economy would still require major...

    • CHAPTER FIVE Cuba’s Changing Demographic Structure
      (pp. 71-82)

      When discussing future population prospects, demographers typically sort the nations of the world according to where their population structures fall within the demographic transition. Thedemographic transitiondescribes the historical pattern of population growth in terms of an ordered sequence of changes in birth and death rates and how the interaction of those rates shapes a country’s growth prospects. The transition begins with birth and death rates in rough equilibrium at high levels. Sustained population growth begins when death rates begin to fall, slows after birth rates eventually begin to decline, and effectively stops when birth and death rates reach...

    • CHAPTER SIX The Institutional Legacy of a Centralized Economy
      (pp. 83-94)

      As we have just discussed, perhaps the key structural imperative for both the current and future Cuban governments is to develop policies that will generate rapid economic growth. However, just as Cuba must overcome the obstacles to achieving that objective, which arise from its changing demographic structure, so too the government will have to overcome two major economic challenges. First, it will need to overcome the institutional legacy of economic practices and institutions that have developed during the four-and-a-half decades during which the Castro government pursued a series of policies based on the Soviet model of a socialist, centrally planned...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN The Need for Industrial Restructuring
      (pp. 95-104)

      In addition to the institutional legacy of a centrally planned economy, Cuba’s economy has also been harmed by development policies that have left it ill prepared to compete in the world economy. Unlike countries that have pursued development policies designed to enable them to compete in an increasingly global economy, Cuba’s development policies, up until the Special Period, went in an entirely different direction. Rather than develop an industrial structure that would enable Cuba to compete in world markets, it relied, instead, on its special economic relationship with the Soviet Union and the other states of the Council for Mutual...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT Conclusion
      (pp. 105-120)

      Both Fidel Castro and the Revolution he embodies face an uncertain future. Time and age will eventually remove Fidel, who turned 77 in August 2003, from the scene in a way that his enemies could not. His Revolution, on the other hand, faces more immediate and tangible problems. Three of the four pillars on which Cuba’s Revolutionary society was built—Soviet economic support, the Revolution’s social compact, and the totalitarian state—have already disappeared or have been severely eroded. When the greatcaudillo, the fourth pillar, departs the scene, only the weakened post-totalitarian state’s security apparatus, which has been used...

  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 121-126)