Monday, October 9, 2006
By SAUL LANDAU
"The key political fact is that organized opposition to Cuba's government exists in Florida, not on the island. With all the money Washington spent on "dissidents" and on Radio and TV Marti, it has not spawned a civil society equivalent to Solidarity in Poland, which led the movement to overthrow the government. Nor has the Cuban Catholic Church played the kind of militant political role on the island that it did in Poland.
After Fidel successfully underwent surgery on August 2, Bush promised he would export democracy to Cubans. Did he envision Cuba's masses rebelling and demanding the kind of freedom he delivered to Iraq?
The issue of transition is not easy anywhere. Cuba will probably move from a government headed by the world's most charismatic leader who micromanaged parts of Cuba for decades to a government in which his replacement, whether individual or committee, will not have that kind of stature. But they will share his political philosophy.
Last year, God apparently told Bush to direct Cuba's transition through the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, co-chaired by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. Their July 10, 2005, report said that the United States must "ensure that the Castro regime's succession strategy does not succeed."
When Fidel passes, according to a new chiste or joke, "Fidelismo without Fidel" will reign. That leaves "ismo." In fact, Cuba has stable institutions and a growing economy. Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has made substantial investments on the island, as has China. U.S.' plan to isolate Cuba have fallen apart with Chavez and newly elected Bolivian President Evo Morales. Indeed, most of Latin America formally recognizes and has routine commerce and exchange with Cuba despite decades of U.S. pressure to prevent it. Cuba even has a trade agreement with Brazil and Argentina, an accord that rejects the U.S. embargo. Last year, drillers discovered a sizeable and rich supply of oil off Cuba's coast, an energy problem solver, a source for investment and foreign exchange."