Cuba's Future

July 20, 2007 • Volume 17, Issue 26
Will Castro's influence endure?
By Peter Katel

Introduction

Longtime Cuban leader Fidel Castro, now 80, is no longer seen in his trademark military fatigues. He transferred authority to his brother Raúl after undergoing surgery last year.  (HO/AFP/Getty Images)
Longtime Cuban leader Fidel Castro, now 80, is no longer seen in his trademark military fatigues. He transferred authority to his brother Raúl after undergoing surgery last year. (HO/AFP/Getty Images)

Cuba is poised at the brink of change. After more than 45 years in power, Fidel Castro, now 80, has relinquished power to his brother Raúl. But with the old communist firebrand still making an occasional taped TV appearance and publishing political commentaries — and probably operating behind the scenes as well — the real post-Fidel era likely will have to await his death. The former Soviet ally has been a thorn in the sides of successive U.S. administrations — and during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis brought the world to the brink of atomic war. Now Washington worries whether his death could provoke instability in Cuba leading to a mass exodus toward Florida's nearby shores. Cuban-Americans, meanwhile, are debating what role to play if they're allowed free access to the island. And U.S. businesses are wondering if warmer relations with Cuba could finally end the long-running U.S. trade embargo — allowing unfettered access to 11 million Cuban consumers.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Cuba
Jun. 12, 2015  Restoring Ties With Cuba
Jul. 20, 2007  Cuba's Future
Dec. 12, 1997  Castro's Next Move
Nov. 29, 1991  Cuba in Crisis
May 20, 1977  Cuban Expansionism
Dec. 19, 1973  Cuba After 15 Years
Jul. 03, 1968  Cuba Under Castro
Apr. 06, 1960  Subversion in Latin America
Jun. 25, 1930  Cuban-American Relations
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Export Sanctions and Restrictions
Regional Political Affairs: Latin America and the Caribbean