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After Castro, don't expect any sudden changes in economic policy
Cuba's macropolicy, both short term and long term after Castro, will be decided in Havana, not in the United States. But whatever course the Cubans choose, it is unlikely that they will scrap his eccentric brand of socialism wholesale and overnight, wildly inefficient though it has been. One should not assume that Cuba will suddenly decide to jettison its own in favor of the experience of some other nation. Certainly, the Cuban people will be better off when Cuba opens up its economy and rejoins the international financial system. But it is impossible at this juncture to predict how it will do so, or whether quickly or in deliberate stages. It is doubly difficult to predict how the administration of the day in Washington will react, or to say when and how it will dismantle its own misguided economic policies toward the island. One might hope that post-Castro Cuba will shift, prudently but deliberately, to a growth-oriented, outward-looking system, but the process is likely to be less than tidy. And we must accept that it cannot be managed by outsiders.

Answer from Stephen Johnson, Latin America policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation: There are a lot of 'ifs' about a post-Fidel Cuba because Cuba runs on the commanding strength of Fidel Castro's personality. One question is whether brother Raśl Castro would be Fidel's successor. Another is if he would attempt to soften the regime so the United States would lift sanctions and do business. Raśl reportedly admires China's market reforms, although his brother has dismissed them. Another 'if' might be whether aid from Venezuela and other donors could eventually boost Cuba's national income toward a break-even point, eliminating the need for market reforms. Fate or politics could get in the way. Raśl might die first, making succession less certain. Cuban citizens might rebel against new leaders, which would bring the economy to a halt, provoking chaos. In the best of scenarios, in which a national dialogue emerges and helps dissidents and military leaders to negotiate competitive elections, Cuba would require massive injections of aid.

Answer from Beatrice Rangel, president of AMLA Consulting: Cuba post-Castro will certainly be capitalist, as Castro's power structures are self-centered and thus will most certainly fail to succeed him. On the other hand, Cubans are educated and reasonably well fed; thus the country represents a far more attractive market than many Latin American nations. With a well-educated and disciplined work force and the creativity of the Cuban soul, we shall witness the Cuban miracle once Castro exits the political scene. I do not see how the U.S. would block the entry of Cuba into the World Bank and the IMF.
14 Apr 2005 by admin
The Havana Journal



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