Thursday, April 13, 2006

Life After Castro: U.S. Plans Ready To Go

Few things survive nuclear blasts: cockroaches, Keith Richards, and now Fidel Castro. After 47 years at Cuba’s helm, Castro is approaching 80 years old and many people are AGAIN starting to speculate what is next (BBC ). It is widely believed that Fidel’s brother, Raul (who is in charge of Cuba’s military), will step in smoothly as the successor. However, others believe there will be immediate chaos. Either way, expect the U.S. to get involved.

In fact, Bush has appointed Caleb McCarry as the “transition coordinator” for Cuba, a position that has probably been around informally for a couple decades. With a dedicated budget of $59 million, McCarry’s job is to try to prevent a continued dictatorship from either Raul or other possible contenders. How this is to be accomplished is unclear and of course, too early to speculate. Yet, expect a call to spread democracy as the battle cry.

Then enter the immigration and business transitions. The eventual post-Castro Cuba and the possible-though not probably-democratized Cuba would mean that many Cuban-American’s may want to return and bring their entrepreneurship with them. In addition, business interests are already eyeing the potential markets of a post-embargo state. Yet, both of these changes are dependent upon a stable governmental regime after Fidel…but is this really possible without a shot fired?

The relics and scars of U.S. interventions of the 1960’s are still very real in the back of the minds of Cuban nationals and Americans. Yet, 1/3 of Cuban-American’s support an immediate armed intervention before a natural caused death; more support an intervention during succession. However, a stable but weak, communist Cuba may be more preferable to deal with than a Cuba at war with civil disrupt. Can the U.S. military support another theater of conflict or better yet, would American’s tolerate it? Nevertheless, Cuba after Castro will be an event we will get to witness, so get your cigar cutters ready. Perhaps the Sopranos will be able to accomplish what the Corleone family couldn’t after all.

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