CUBA: POSSIBLE TRANSITION SCENARIOS WITHOUT FIDEL CASTRO
Por MANUEL CEREIJO
Depiction of Cuba’s future without Fidel Castro is a major challenge even for expert observers because the conditions at the time of transition and the cause of his demise are unknowable. I present some possibilities, some undesirable, some not, but all possible. The order of presenting them is not an indication of either desirability or major possibilities.
I. Orderly transition to Raul Castro
Raul Castro, following constitutional norms, would succeed Fidel Castro as dictator of Cuba. Lacking appropriate personal qualifications, he would be critically-dependent on the support of the FAR and the rising technocratic class to maintain control of power. He would likely create a framework for collective leadership. At a minimum, this would require making sure key military leaders fully supported all policy initiatives. The impact on the FAR of an orderly transition to Raul Castro would likely be for the military institution, the ultimate power broker in Cuba, to assume the role of active, day-to-day power broker. Raul Castro would likely have to work very hard to make sure the military is on board. The implications for the United States would depend upon the relative success of a Raul Castro government in solidifying power.
II. Orderly transition to collective leadership without Raul Castro
A government that takes power through an orderly transition that displaced Raul Castro would likely be dominated by the FAR. Constitutional norms would probably be followed, but in fact the FAR commanders would be ruling the country either directly or indirectly. Non-military elements would also play a political role, and the titular head of the government might be a civilian or retired military officer.
The impact on the FAR, without the hand of Raul Castro to mediate between contenders for political power, would likely be open and perhaps intense factionalism. Disputes between commanders would likely go beyond the issue of government primacy and also cover poltical policies and relations with the United States.
Fear of violent conflict among military units would probably move the military institution to set ground rules for resolving disputes peacefully. Implications for the United States would depend on the degree of success of the new government in dealing with its multiple problems.
III. Civil War
A conflict between organized FAR units, if military leaders are unable to settle their disputes peacefully and cuba is afflicted with a civil war in the form of prolonged combat between organized units of the FAR. Warfare could be triggered by a contest for political power or by personal or regional differences regarding democratic openings or economic and foreign policy.
The United States, and/or OAS, EU would become involved, to promote peace, and justice. The drama and suffering would become a staple of the US media and would certainly become a major political issue.
IV. Imposition of a government by external forces
A government is imposed by force. Depending on the circumstances, this government could be a transition government, formed by a collective group of exiles and Cubans of the Island, or a brief US military intervention, followed then by general elections once the right and proper conditions are met.
The best transition scenario would be one that, in a very short time period would act to:* Derogation of the 1976 Constitution ( and all post it)
* Immediate liberation of all political prisoners
* A call for general elections in a period not to exceed 18 months.
* Dismantling of all repressive forces
* Return of the exiles
* Guarantee the rights of all citizens
* Establishment of a free market economy
* The right to domestic and productive property
* The right to live without fear, persecution, arbitrary arrest
* The establishment of a new order designed to keep a stable and
prosperous society for the benefit and prosperity of all Cubans