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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

YSK: Fidel Castro's Death Will Cause Even More Upheaval in the World, But This Time for the Better

So, apparently Castro has undegone surgery for intestinal bleeding. The government run Cuban media (take with a huge grain of salt) is saying that Castro’s condition was caused by overwork. Castro also took the opportunity to “remind” the people of Cuba that they are under constant threat from the US government. He announced that he was transferring his powers to several individuals, most notably, his younger brother Raul Castro. Raul is Castro’s designated successor, despite the fact that, at 75, he is only 4 years younger than Fidel. Also, he is a notorious alcoholic. So…good choice. There will almost certainly be a massive government crackdown on dissidents after Castro’s death. The communist regime will be desperate to maintain control. Life in Cuba will not instantly turn to sunshine and democracy once he is gone.

I’ve said this before: I hate to root for someone to die…but I am. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of the end of “la revolucion” and Cuba can finally start to heal. Castro took a country that had one of the most prosperous economies in the Western hemisphere and, after 47 years, has pushed the country to the brink of being another Haiti. Hopefully, Cuba can avoid Haitian-esque upheaval but there will definitely be hard times to come as those who stayed on the island are forced to deal with the inevitable influx of Cuban expatriates and their offspring. There are bound to be clashes. I’m afraid the expat-Cubans will push too hard for their desired changes and will be resented by those who remained. Particularly since many of the expat-Cubans pushed the US government to maintain, and even tighten, the embargo that exacerbated Cuban poverty and gave Castro a scapegoat upon which to blame his inept governance. Ultimately, the Cuban people will have to decide if half a century of inept leadership, grinding poverty and being associated with the worst regimes in the world (North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, etc.) is enough.

There are only 5 communist countries left in the world, (unfortunately, one of them is China which has 1.3 billion people) only 2 of them do not trade with the US: Cuba and North Korea. They are also the only 2 that are not moving to modernize their political and economic systems. That’s good company. It is far past time to end the grotesquely unsuccessful communist experiment in these countries.

Regime change in Cuba would be good for the US. It would re-open Cuba to American investment which would dramatically improve both the Cuban economy and the quality of life of the Cuban people. It would also remove an ally from nations that are also enemies of the US such as North Korea, Iran, and (possibly) Venezuela. Every little bit helps.

The bottom line is this: Castro is a man and he will die. I just hope that everyone is prepared to HELP Cuba (when I say help, I mean actually help, not exploit the opportunity for their own interests) through a difficult transition that will hopefully make their lives better and allow expat-Cubans and their children to see the island from which they have been exiled.

More updates as they come.

PS: I just left South Florida on Sunday day too early. I'd love to see the reaction. Hialeah will probably be burned to the ground when he finally goes but for now people aren't holding their breath.

Update: Exiles are already calling for Cubans to protest the succession to Raul Castro. Also, Cuban American blogger Babalu is repeating reports from Congressional sources that say Castro's statement came after his surgery. Some think this may imply he is gravely ill or dead already because, otherwise, they may not have made his condition known at all.

Update: CNN just interrupted news on Castro to talk about...Mel Gibson. It is good to see we all have our priorities straight.

Update: The AP is reporting that Castro is supposedly recovering well. (CNN is still talking about Mel Gibson.)

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Cuba Archive
YSK: Fidel Castro's Death Will Cause Even More Upheaval in the World, But This Time for the Better
Castro Update
Die Already, You Old Bastard!
Why I Hate Fidel Castro
What are the Senate Candidates Positions on Cuba Policy?
Tick Tock

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