October 27, 2006


Cubans Begin to Just Say No (MARY ANASTASIA O'GRADY, October 27, 2006, Wall Street Journal)

At this time the military seems to be loyal to Raul. Nevertheless, the dictator in waiting has at least two reasons to be worried. The first is Hugo Chávez, who pours an estimated $2 billion into the Cuban economy annually and seems to believe that he is the rightful revolutionary successor to Fidel. Rumor has it that attitude is not going down too well with Raul or his men. As Brian Latell, former CIA analyst and author of "After Fidel" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), pointed out this week: "It may also be reasonable to speculate that Raul and his military commanders feel contempt for the mercurial and often bizarre Venezuelan, who rose no higher than lieutenant colonel in the decidedly less professional and accomplished Venezuelan military."

Fold into this mix the tension that already exists between elements of the regime that see themselves as ideologically pure and loyal to Fidel and Raul's army, which seems to enjoy making money -- as Mr. Latell describes so well in his book -- and all kinds of complications arise.

Yet Hugo and the fidelistas might be the least of Raul's troubles. Less noticed by the international press but at least as threatening are the island's dissidents, who are once again stirring things up, this time with their "non-cooperation campaign." While conventional wisdom discounts the movement as weak, disorganized and easily infiltrated, every action of the government suggests that popular resistance to the regime is spreading, even after a brutal wave of repression was unleashed more than a year ago.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 27, 2006 9:58 AM

Well, if a *CIA analyst* says it, then it must be true! (rolls eyes).

The CIA couldn't predict the sun coming up in the east, so I'll just adopt a wait-and-see attitude if you don't mind.

Posted by: Bryan at October 27, 2006 1:42 PM

The ultimate October surprise might be Castro's corpse being laid to rest while Cubanos dance in the streets.

Posted by: erp at October 27, 2006 6:08 PM

If Hugo would just eat somebody, I'm sure Raul and plenty of other Fideslistas would be perfectly happy to annoit him as the ideological successor to Idi Amin.

Posted by: John at October 28, 2006 2:10 AM