Posted on Thursday, 01.21.10
Steps to transition of post-Raul Castro Cuba envisioned
In a study on Cuba's future, an expert said leader Raúl Castro likely
would strengthen the military and implement other safeguards before he
dies or retires.
BY JUAN O. TAMAYO
Cuba's Raúl Castro may try to “institutionalize the revolution'' before
he leaves power by strengthening the military and legislature and
“revising'' the communist ideology, according to one scenario crafted
by a Cuba expert at the University of Miami.
“This is the most conservative scenario of all — continuity and
stability,'' said Andy Gomez, senior fellow at UM's Institute for Cuban
and Cuban-American Studies.
Gomez wrote the scenario for a U.S. intelligence community review of
Cuba's possible future paths. U.S. agencies regularly conduct such
exercises and invite academics to take part, he said, declining to
identify the agency in charge of the current review.
Gomez said he was asked to focus on the post-Fidel and Raúl Castro
scenario, while others were asked to focus on other possibilities,
including dramatic changes brought on by social unrest or natural disasters.
“The key is to begin to think past Fidel and Raúl. The dialogue has
been stuck on that, and we need to think strategically in terms of what
comes next,'' he said.
Under Gomez's scenario, Castro, who succeeded his ailing brother Fidel
in early 2008, would focus on “trying to institutionalize the
revolution'' before he dies or retires.
To guarantee continuity, he added, Castro would continue to purge
younger government officials, like former Vice President Carlos Lage,
and replace them with older hard-liners like José Ramon Machado Ventura.
Most top members of Castro's government are already well over 70 years old.
Castro also would try to strengthen the Revolutionary Armed Forces and
the Cuban Communist Party, he added, and “revise'' the party's ideology
to allow limited economic reforms while preserving political controls,
Castro may also try to make the legislative National Assembly, now
dominated by Communist Party members, more representative by letting in
moderate critics of the government, he added.
His study listed nine “principal actors'' in the post-Raúl Castro era:
• Gen. Alvaro López Miera, FAR Chief of Staff and member of the ruling
Council of State.
• Gen. Lucio Morales Abad, chief of Western Army.
• Gen. Rafael Bello Rivero, chief of the Central Army
• Gen. Onelio Aguilera Bermudez, chief of the Eastern Army.
• Gen. Eduardo Delgado Rodriguez, deputy interior minister for
intelligence and counter-intelligence.
• Comandante Ramiro Valdés, vice president of the Council of State and
minister of communications.
• Foreign Relations Minister Bruno Rodriguez.
• Marino Murillo, minister of the economy and vice president.
• Maj. Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Callejas, Raúl Castro's son-in law
and administrator of the armed forces' many business ventures.
The Joker in Cuba's deck, he noted, is Ramiro Valdés, who served for
many years as the heavy-handed Minister of the Interior, in charge of
domestic security. Valdés is known to have had several run-ins with
Castro, is viewed as very ambitious and at age 77 is in far better
physical shape than most other top government officials.
But senior officers in the Armed Forces Ministry, which Castro led for
nearly 50 years, do not trust Valdés, Gomez said.
“That's the real wild card, but will he survive?'' he said. “They will
have to keep a real eye on him.''
Steps to transition of post-Raul Castro Cuba envisioned – Americas –
MiamiHerald.com (21 January 2010)