Cuba - what happens after Castro dies?

I’m not sure he’ll EVER die, but for the sake of argument, what are the prevailing theories of what Cuba’s future will be?

  1. Cuba remains controlled by communists, limping along until it limps out.

  2. Cuba goes to some sort of democratic government, and investment money from the US and other countries will POUR into the island, making it the most wealthy resort island in the region.

  3. Cuba will settle in to a civil war.

My personal bet is #2. It just seems to make so much sense. It was a mecca for investment and tourism before Castro took over, and I think US investors in particular, would love to pour into Havana. I think Cuba is a gold mine waiting to happen, and I wouldn’t mind investing in a nice beachfront condo myself given the opportunity.

And I think the country’s economy would crank along just fine after some intial bumps. But they are sitting pretty in a great location.

Are there any post-Castro plans in place once he passes to keep things status quo?

  1. A reality TV show called ‘who wants to be president of Cuba’ starts up and a bouncer from Long Island eventually wins. Failing that, I’d predict 1. I don’t know much about Cuba but Castro probably has someone in mind to take over after he is gone.

“Fidelito”, Castro’s son is supposedly being groomed for the job.

There’s always Elian Gonzalez way down the road.

His brother, Raul Castro, is First Vice-President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers. Of course he’s not that much younger than Castro. Whatever happens Cuba will become unrecognizable within a year or two.

Fidelito Castro is most definetily NOT being groomed to succeed his father, nor are any of Castro’s other sons.

Like alphaboi867 wrote, Raul Castro is next in line since he is the First Vice President of the Council of State and constitutionally that’s how succession in Cuba is supposed to go.

Having said that Raul Castro is not nearly as charismatic nor does he have the same public appeal of Fidel Castro. He will likely be overthrown or killed, and after that things in Cuba will get bad. I don’t see a full scale civil war, since guns are mostly in the hands of the military, but there will certainly be a period of lawlessness and revenge killings. If it gets bad enough there might even be an intervention by the OAS, as I just don’t see the US going at it alone.

Following that Cuba might get a chance at real democracy and prosperity, although I am not entirely optimistic.

Isn’t foreign money already pouring in, and isn’t it already a popular destination for Canadians, Brits, et al.? It seems to me that we’re missing out on a great opportunity by continuing to allow our foreign policy in Cuba to be dictated by a relatively small special interest group; let alone the opportunity to spread ‘McDonalds Diplomacy’.

A number of politicians who have spent the past few decades catering to the Cuban exile community get to explain that, no, we aren’t going to arrange for them to go home, get their stuff back, and take over running things.

Pass the popcorn… :stuck_out_tongue:

Would you mind listing some of those politicians? Along with link to them making those promises? They must fairly long lived politicians, since they would have been making those promises for 48 years.

Great question, and yes nearly every other country with a significant economy is doing business in Cuba. However don’t lose sight of the nature of Cuba’s government, even with all this foreing investment Cubans have not seen a political or ecomic opening. I see no reason to believe that US investment would change that.

Not exactly pouring. As of 2002, total foreign investment in Cuba was about $1.9 billion, not nothing, but just below the threshold to qualify as a mid-cap company in the US. I found this figure in this PDF, which took forever to open.

I would suppose there would be a transition period when the people who plundered Cuba would try to keep the party (and the Party) going. That might last as long as a decade. With Castro’s charisma, the government will change.

There will be a heck of a mess cleaning up clear title to seized property. I wonder how the Eastern Europeans handled that.

Once that is all settled, I will buy a little finca and move in to retire.

I think you are right. but from what I understand, the average Cuban isn’t seeing the prosperity that they should. That money by and large goes to the government.

Now since the US is doing business with Vietnam, I can only speculate that when Castro dies we will end the embargo and start importing cigars. Other than that, I’m very curious.

Do you have a cite for this assertion? Cuba had significant barriers to foreign investment prior to 1995, and still has some barriers. I believe that fear of nationalization of assets and fluctuations in Castro’s tolerance of market-based activities still inhibit many foreign investors.

To answer the question in the OP, I think that there will be a power struggle within the existing regime to determine the next leader, and that the regime will continue for at least a few years. I expect that they will move in the direction of market-based reforms similar to the way China has done.

Ain’t gonna happen. No post-Castro government, whatever its structure or ideology, is going to have the slightest interest in restoring properties Castro nationalized. It might privatize some such properties, but not into the hands of their pre-Revolutionary owners or their heirs or assigns.

The Cuban tourism industry, almost in its entirety, is co-owned by the Cuban government and foreign firms, such as Sol Melia. There are still barriers to foreign investment, such as restricted ownership percentages, but foreign firms are in Cuba in a big way. For some reason I can’t create a proper link, but try this website http://www.cubafirst.com/english/vinculos.asp for some additional detail.

Thanks. That site is blocked for me at work; I’ll take a look over the weekend. My impression has been that there is foreign investment in Cuba, but on a rather small scale, due to the barriers and fears I mentioned. The cites I’ve found today have been PDFs and have been no more recent than 2002. In general, investors are eager to be among the first to establish businesses in a newly available economy, which would make Cuba attractive. At the same time, investors have a strong need for assurance that they will be able to repatriate the profits from their investments (take their profits home). Cuba made some strides in providing this assurance when they enacted a new foreign investment law in 1995. Investors also desire assurances that the rules under which they operate will remain more or less constant, or at least predictable. Even after 1995, this has been a problem in Cuba. While Raul Castro seems to favor China-like reforms, his brother has changed the rules on market activities in Cuba several times based on political and economic conditions.

Your are definitely right about the tourism industry. As you said, most of the investment their is in the form of joint-ventures, which are favored by the 1995 law, but that law does allow wholly-owned foreign companies as well.

If Cuban law holds that every so often everybody can have their property seized, then how can anyone invest in confidence? Not a big problem for a little guy, but why should a company build a factory in a company that allows the government to null lawful title on a whim?

How are the Eastern Europeans handling this, by the way?

After Castro, there will be a very brief period when the CP attemps 'reform". There will be a Rumanian-style revolution, and a new government will come to power. At this point, foreign investors will build hotels and casinos, and cuba will be back to where it was ca 1956. Only this time there will be a fairly honest government. the sicilain mafia will run the casinos, and due to the massive profits, corruption will be rife.

Since we’re guessing here anyway and not dealing with facts, I’ll say that if we follow a Rumanian style post-USSR model then it will not be a sicilian mafia running things, the former-communists will fill that role very nicely.