The process for legitimizing Cuba’s totalitarian dictatorship, euphemistically called “elections” by the regime and parroted as such by the free press will advance to the next step when the newly “elected” Municipal Assembly meets to choose the National Assembly who then unanimously appoints a dictator-Fidel. This momentous celebration of people power is slated for 20 January 2008.
Only this time, there’s actually a little suspense. Fidel may not be on the ballot. Raul, may decide to retire his older half-brother to legitimize his own dictatorship.
Who knows, maybe Raul won’t even put himself on the ballot, choosing instead to head the Cuban Communist Party and the Armed Forces, leaving the ceremonial State political offices to a loyal party aparatik like Lage, Alarcon or even Perez-Roque. He could still control the country and be in a position to normalize relations with the next American administration -a Democratic one- they hope.
This arrangement gives Raul Castro flexibility to survive his brother's death. Having all but expelled the terrorist ETA from Cuba-they are relocation to either Venezuela or Bolivia- and trying to broker a deal between the Columbian Government of Uribe and the FARC and FLN narco-trafficking “rebel”-terrororists, he can get Cuba off the State sponsor of terror list-a stumbling block to American dollars. The next stumbling block to begin some kind of normalization of relations with the US, is the Helms-Burton law which forbids any US normalization of relations while either Fidel or Raul Castro is in charge.
Raul can then play the US off against Chavez to see who gives him more money or he has a back-up plan to get American tourists into Cuba if Chavez’s 21st Century Socialism crashes and burns in the near future. And, he can devote some time to his hobby: drinking, which is obviously what my friend and I were doing last night when we came up with this “analysis”. We figured you have to get drunk if you’re going to figure out what a drunk might do.