HAVANA (WSVN) - Cubans in their home country have expressed hope and doubt in the wake of the death of Fidel Castro, but many wonder what life will be like following the passing of their former leader.
Castro’s death, announced on state TV by President Raul Castro, late Friday, was a long-awaited and much anticipated turn of events, but the question remains: How much exactly will change on the island nation?
“Cubans on the island have been planning for this for a number of years,” said University of Miami Professor Jaime Suchlicki. “In Cuba, very little is going to happen because a Cuban military has contingency plans to control the population, to arrest a number of the dissidents and to make sure that this thing goes very, very smoothly. ”
Suchlicki is among a handful of scholars who suggest that Cuba is not in store for major changes, at least not anytime soon, because Fidel Castro’s brother Raul succeeds him and leads a nation.
And, Suchlicki added, ruthlessness runs in the family. “It’s a succession process, and not a transition,” he said, “so the death of Fidel, we think, is not gonna usher a major changes immediately, but a continuation of the same situation under control of Raul and the military.”
The Cuban military and Raul Castro is one powerful combination, according to experts. “Most of the lucrative enterprises in Cuba are run by the military, so it’s gonna be militarized in the sense that the economy and most of the money that folds into the government is gonna be controlled by the military,” said University of Miami Professor Eric Driggs.
There is hope, however, that Raul Castro will be more giving to his people when it comes to food and consumer goods, but scholars don’t expect monumental changes in Cuban society until the death or downfall of Raul Castro.
Even then, time and persistence will be the essence. “Then we will have a struggle for control at the top between the military, the party, some civilians, and this thing may begin to unravel,” Suchlicki said.
Experts don’t think, for the time being, that Cuba will be a place or anyone to return, especially the exiles. “The Cuba that they’re gonna find is very different than the Cuba they left,” Suchlicki said. “Cuba is a basket case economically; society is divided.”
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