It just occurred to me that Raul Castro is 80 years old

And, with as much commerce and travel as Cuba has with countries other than the U.S. – certainly the Cubans are not North-Korea isolated – the people can’t be unaware of the Middle Eastern democratic upheaval, and it’s bound to give them ideas sooner or later. I bet on later – I think that they’ve collectively unconsciously, and not unwisely, decided not to rock the boat until Raul, following Fidel, passes on to join the Great Classless Society. Which can’t be far off, now, by the clock of history. But what then?

Correction: Raul Castro is 79, will be 80 in June.

A curious item in the news this week: Fidel announced that he actually stepped down as head of the Cuban Communist Party five years ago. It just never occurred to him to formally resign. This is believed to be a gesture to help legitimize Raul’s leadership.

Interesting observation: why is it that dictators rarely have succession plans? Having a 79 year old in charge leads to many problems.
Of course, “el jefe” knows what’s best for “his” people-isn’t that true?

Most dictators know in their hearts that they are immortal. Also, a designated successor might grow dangerously impatient.

Hitler always said that after the war was won, he intended to step down as Fuhrer and retire to his home town of Linz. Maybe he would have, odd fellow as he was.

“Cuban stockholders demand a succession plan”. Oops, that was Apple. Who’s is in charge after Raul and Fidel bite the bullet? Is there a name or names mentioned?

Any chance that Hugo Chavez, resident tin-pot dictator in Venezuela, would attemp a merger where he offers to govern both countries? Seems it might fit his ego.

From my point of view, it’s not a “dictator” issue so much as a “revolutionary” one. People that liberate their nation by force are often quite bad at contemplating long-term political goals. Not sure why that is, but it’s something I’ve noticed about revolutionaries, regardless of their underlying politics.

Personally, I’m not too worried about Cuba. It has a strong, dedicated government that has done wonders for the Cuban people. I’m sure it’ll manage. Note that China’s Communist Party started out without transfer of power plans as well; it’s still firmly in charge, presiding over the greatest nation in the world, and peacefully transferring power between leaders. This indicates to me that a socialist party can evolve as needed, fixing problems as they arise.

Any chance that Hugo Chavez, resident tin-pot dictator in Venezuela, would attemp a merger where he offers to govern both countries? Seems it might fit his ego.[/QUOTE]

One thing I find fascinating about Westerners is their knee-jerk labeling of any leader with different politics as a “dictator.”

So, let’s see if I get this straight:

Democratically-elected socialist leader of Venezuela: dictator.
Brutal despotic leader of Saudi Arabia: not a dictator.

Got it. War is peace, and all that.

Absolute monarchs are generally distinguished from dictators. The distinction was more useful back in the days when there were more absolute monarchs. It appears that nowadays we’re limited to Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi, Oman, Brunei, and Herr Ratzinger.

It fascinates me that there seems to be a connection between Dictator for Life and long life. You never hear about these dudes popping off at 63 years old. They all seem to live to a ripe old age!

Except when they die of lead poisoning, that is.

Anyway, the Cubans must at least think, now and then, about what they want to come after the Castros. I wonder what they come up with?

Just like that dictator of Rumania.

Back when Dennis Miller was funny, in SNL’s Weekend Update he reported on the dead of the dictator by firing squad, his body in the end ground up and fed to the dogs-- as new product called Puppy Ceaucescu! :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, there’s one who famously thought he left everything “tied, and well-tied at that”. He’s been dead for a while and the first thing Juan Carlos I did was grab the scissors and attack the knot.

Traditional monarchism is making a comeback in the “Communist” world, as indicated by the in-the-family transfers of power in Cuba and North Korea. Apparently, the “next stage of history” is a reprise of one of the previous ones, after all…

As Marx said when President Louis Napoleon Bonaparte staged the coup that made him Emperor Napoleon III: “When history repeats itself, it does so the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”

One of the ways you remain a dictator is by removing anyone who looks like they might be your successor. Consequently there is no succession plan in Cuba. For a long time Alarcon was seen, mostly outside of Cuba, as a potential successor, but he has been mostly marginalized, and he is also in his 70’s now anyway.

Of course, Lenin never would have thought of doing that (more’s the pity, or he might have taken care of Stalin). Some dictators are True Believers in a cause greater than themselves.

I don’t know whether Fidel falls into that category.

Nitpick: Lenin did attempt to have Stalin “taken care of” upon his death. To the eternal detriment of humanity, Lenin’s voice failed to be heard on this issue. We’re all still paying for this.

Lenin, IIRC, just wrote some notes to the Central Committee warning Stalin was getting too powerful and was not to be trusted. If Stalin had been in his shoes, he would simply have whispered an order to Beria – no man, no problem.

But, Commissar, I thought yew wuz a Stalinist, not a Trostkyist.

Jimmy Carter is making another “private mission” visit to Cuba.