Saturday, February 23, 2008


As I'm sure all of you know, the new Asemblea Nacional will be selecting the new Consejo de Estado tomorrow. They are handed a list that has been previously compiled, and the Asemblea simply needs to approve it. The new Consejo de Estado members need 50% +1 of the vote, so the Asemblea can theoretically make alterations to appointments, but this has yet to happen.

The most likely official to be the new President is Raul Castro. This would make it more than obvious that what has just transpired in Cuba is a succession. There is another possibility for tomorrow's outcome, although it is rather unlikely, in my view. Carlos Lage could be selected President. There are only five government officials that occupy all 3 of the most important civilian organizations--the Consejo de Estado, the Consejo de Ministros, and the Buro Politico (there are only 4 if we dismiss Fidel, which seems to be all the rage of late); of these, Lage is the only one under the age of 70. But, let us not be mistaken, if Lage (or anyone else for that matter) is appointed president, it will still be a succession. Whether or not Raul is the new official head of state and government, he will still be the primary decision maker.

We should see some significant shuffling in the government tomorrow. I imagine that Raulistas will move into some important positions, while the most ardent Fidelistas might be demoted or even dismissed. This would only make sense given the new leadership. All in all, my prediction is that reformists (economic reformists) will be given more power. Let us see if the Chinese model, or some variation thereof, awaits. (Not that this is what I want, but at least it would be an economic improvement)

No comments: