After Fidel

2008-02-26 00:00

Fidel Castro has just stepped down as president of Cuba. Despite being public enemy number one of the United States for almost half a century, he outlasted nine American presidents. He is the great survivor. As a charismatic revolutionary he has been a cult figure in the communist world but his regime has become increasingly anachronistic in the 21st century.

The large number of Cuban exiles in Florida and elsewhere in the U.S. is testimony to the unpopularity of his government among some at least, but nobody can dispute that there is now 98% literacy in Cuba and good medical care is freely available to all. In fact, child mortality rates compare favourably with Western countries.

For nearly 50 years Raul Castro has stood unobtrusively in the shadow of his elder brother. Now the baton has been passed to him. Analysts are divided as to what kind of leader he might make, but it is unlikely that he will be in the vanguard of change. The choosing of 77-year-old ideologue Jose Ramon Machado Ventura as his first vice-president does not suggest the immediate demise of communism.

However, Raul’s reliance on the faithful old guard for his leadership team might well indicate a sense of insecurity in the corridors of power. The young revolutionaries of 1959 are now in their seventies. Time is not on their side. Is their defensiveness perhaps an indication of their eroding support in a changing world?

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.