Many people have been asking me about my ideas on what will happen in Cuba after Castro, now that there is an apparent crack in the façade. That was one of the main questions that I had in my mind when I hitchhiked across the island last March. Some things are becoming clearer, many are becoming yet more obscured by the forces at play.
I highly recommend this article in the New Yorker by Jon Lee Anderson, a writer whose view on Cuba strikes me as unusually well-rounded and informed. It's certainly well-timed, being published just a few weeks before the announcement of Castro's illness. I had firsthand experience with many of the things he describes in the article, and can vouch for it. Anderson's biography of Che Guevara is also worth mentioning, it's the best I've seen, if you're interested.
At the moment, a couple things seem important to remember. First, Fidel is possibly already dead. This is at least as likely as any of the other possibilities, remember that Franco had been dead for weeks before his Spanish government announced the news.
Second, there is a lot on the line. To understate it, our recent experience in Iraq doesn't speak highly for our country's expertise in the area of "nation-building" and "regime change." Be wary when you hear Bush-appointed bureaucrats speak of the "transition to a market economy" in Cuba. Sure, a lot can be approved upon in Cuba, but it would be a huge global loss if the island were to go the way of Haiti or even Puerto Rico. It deserves freedom from Fidel and freedom from US dominance. A second colonial era would benefit no one, not even Americans in the long run.
There's an unpublished article of mine that I wrote in March on this subject, I just may post it here soon. In the meantime, check this out: it is a video I recorded of Fidel speaking on State television in Cuba in February. He is speaking at a transportation summit with the Chinese (who are currently underwriting a supposed major upgrade in the Cuban system), so there is a Chinese interpreter speaking as well. At this point, he had been speaking for several hours and just happened to serve onto the subject of the US just as I hit record. Let me know what you think.