News

A simulation of Cuba without Castro

What happens if Fidel Castro dies? This was the question posed by the UM Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies and explored Feb. 3 in the form of a near-future Cuban Communist Party Politburo simulated meeting.

The meeting began at 6 a.m. on Feb. 14, 2008, an hour after Castro’s death, which was attributed to his ongoing bout with Parkinson’s disease. Raul Castro convened the Politburo to “discuss what policies to follow in Cuba’s immediate future and how to secure the planned succession.”

Raul Castro started with some general rhetoric. He said his brother would be laid to rest under “an eternal flame” and the Cuban Communist Party should not “lose [its]revolutionary awareness, [its]revolutionary spirit.”

Raul Castro then said he seeks a so-called election to become First Secretary.

As the meeting continued, various members of the Politburo voiced a diverse range of opinions with their individual takes on how to best handle the country in the days and months ahead. All agreed, however, that they “do not want another Tiananmen Square,” referring to China’s violent handling of the student-led protests of 1989.

Discussion covered a range of topics, such as how to suppress the international media, the development of economic services and the suppression of the appearance of a police state.

The meeting ended with the arrival of a document saying the U.S. would be sending a high-level diplomat to engage in talks with Cuba.

Raul Castro and the panel agree to send Carlos Lage, rather than Raul Castro himself, sending a clear message of superiority to the U.S.

Each member of the Politburo was played by a prominent expert of Cuban affairs. Raul Castro, second secretary of the Cuban Communist Party and Fidel Castro’s younger brother, was played by Brian Latell.

Latell worked for 20 years at the CIA and, in the early 1990s, served as National Intelligence Officer for Latin America.

Gen. Alvaro Lopez Miera was played by Jaime Suchlicki, Jose Ramon Machado Ventura by Alcibiades Hidalgo, Abel Prieto Jimenez by Andy Gomez, Gen. Abelardo Colome Ibarra by Jose Ramon Ponce, Yadira Garcia by Georgina Lindskoog, Ricardo Alarcon de Quesada by Domingo Amuchastegui and Lage by Eric Driggs.

After the simulation was over, a question-and-answer session was held.

Regarding the issue of Cubans living in the U.S. who would wish to go back to Cuba to reunite with family members, Suchlicki, director of the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, claimed that “in a post 9-11 world, the U.S. would have contingencies.”

The panel also said the succession is already ongoing, since Raul Castro is running the day-to-day operations of Cuba.

The participants in the simulation stressed that this scenario is only one of several possible situations that could play out upon Fidel Castro’s death. Many of the political dynamics would greatly depend on when exactly the leader dies. The year 2008 was chosen mainly due to a possible power shift in Washington, D.C., since presidential elections would be taking place at that time.

Jason Albrecht can be contacted at j.albrecht@umiami.edu.

February 7, 2006

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

It’s the play Miami Hurricanes fans will never forget — and Florida State fans are trying to forget. ...

Miami Hurricanes fans might recall their favorite college football players in past years dreaming of ...

The new quarterback is usually the ones fans gush over. For the University of Miami, last season it ...

Debate all you want, but University of Miami football coach Mark Richt made it clearer than ever Wed ...

Last year, when University of Miami tailback Mark Walton attended the Atlantic Coast Conference Foot ...

An ACLU report authored by UM sociologists documents racial and ethnic disparities in Miami-Dade Cou ...

Following the summit between Trump and Putin, reaction from politicians, pundits and former intellig ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

University of Miami law and political science professors weigh in on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee. ...

Research bioclimatologists with the UM Synoptic Climatology Lab counsel cities on how to manage risi ...

Miami senior Tyler Gauthier was named to the 2018 Fall Watch List for the Rimington Trophy presented ...

Miami junior wide receiver Ahmmon Richards was among those named to the watch list for the 2018 Bile ...

University of Miami junior running back Travis Homer was named a preseason candidate for the Doak Wa ...

Six former Canes competed on NBA Summer League teams, with three averaging at least 10 points per ga ...

Quick Hits gives University of Miami volleyball fans an opportunity to get to know the new student-a ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.