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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Fidel Castro in Failing Health
I have often supposed that the U.S. would normalize relations with Cuba during my lifetime. That outcome may be closer at hand now that Fidel Castro (almost 80) has fallen ill and ceded power to his brother, Raul (75).

Fidel has vowed that the socialist state in Cuba would long outlast him. After the severe recession of the 1990s caused by the loss of Soviet subsidies, Cuba would be wise to consider all its options. It has a measly $3,500 per capita GDP. One possibility is that Cuba may adopt a Chinese system of socialism - fairly free markets, some limited ownership of the means of production, but no real political freedoms. Then again, with a prosperous superpower so close at hand, might the Cubans make a play for total freedom?

It seems unlikely that Cuba will remain estranged from the U.S. forever. With Fidel out of the way, the U.S. may make some diplomatic inroads. Raul is a dyed-in-the-wool communist, but he too is an old man, and Cubans are frustrated with their relative poverty.
Cuba libre!

PS: when will you tell us about your trip to China?
Cuba'll see revolution. Way too much to gain by joining the modern world only a few miles from its shores. Castro's a dinosaur, and was the only thing holding the country firmly in the grip of a failed philosophy. There will be no subtle shifts in approach, a la China. They don't have the resources to pull it off, and I doubt that anyone left in Castro's cadre has the strength to maintain his grip on the vice. Kiss communist Cuba good bye. In a few years, Havana will, once again, be a popular destination with international tourists.
I can't wait. I've seen pictures, and it's a beautiful place.
Would you believe there are STILL people today saying about Castro, "Well but he provided free healthcare for everyone."

In a country where children suffer from VITAMIN DEFICIENCY DISEASES that no American doctor has seen except in a textbook!
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