An interview: UM’s Cuban Transition Project Director

President Ronald Reagan once wrote, “Communism is neither an economic or political system-it is a form of insanity-a temporary aberration which will one day disappear from the earth because it is contrary to human nature.” Dr. Jaime Suchlicki discusses how and when the misery of Castro’s Cuba will end.

Dr. Suchlicki: I invite the U.M. community to Casa Bacardi, open seven days a week at 1531 Brescia Ave. off San Amaro to relax and celebrate Cuban culture through an on-line data base of 2,000 Cuban songs, videos about Cuban life, playing the bongo drums and viewing Cuban photography.
Q: Please describe the mission of UM’s Cuban Transition Project and its plan for achieving it.
A: The objective is to prepare both the Cuban people and the U.S. gov’t for the transition to Cuban democracy whenever it happens. We’re doing a series of studies on various aspects of transition not telling people how the transition should take place but learning from Eastern Europe’s’ lessons. Beyond that, we’re doing databases including Cuba’s political prisoners, laws, foreign investments, treaties, commercial agreements and a general research database. They can be accessed at
Q: Castro has recently complained to the U.N. that the CTP’s $1M Federal Funding illegally attempts to undermine his government. Your response.
A: The Universal Declaration of Rights discusses the dissemination of information and that governments may not stop the free-flow of information from one country to the other. So I don’t think we’re doing anything illegal. We want the Cuban people to know about our studies and we disseminate them.
Q: Considering Castro has crushed almost all organized resistance to the regime, how will democracy emerge?
A: Slow and difficult. We must distinguish between succession and transition. The succession after Fidel’s death will be quick and smooth. The military under Raul Castro will probably take over. Real transition to democracy and a market economy will be much longer and more difficult than Eastern Europe’s quick turnaround.
Q: Can Cuba achieve a democratic revolution without bloodshed or war?
A: It will be difficult to do. Cuba has deep racial problems, deep economic divisions and great hatred towards the regime for human rights abuses. They will take a long time to solve.
Q: Should the U.S. consider military force against Cuba?
A: I don’t think the U.S. should consider implementing their military option unless Cuba attacks the U.S., the Guantanamo Military Base or their neighbor countries. Instead, the U.S. should continue supporting dissidents and help the move towards democracy in Cuba short of military intervention.
Q: When will democracy emerge in Cuba?
A: After Raul Castro takes power the change will begin to occur as international and internal pressure strengthens.

Pete Trombadore can be contacted at