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Future Scenario, Cuba, the Presidential Elections and Running Against Time-

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The following are some thoughts and projections on the basis of some recent trends -

There is a progressively growing desperation among the Cuban rightwing in the United States. They have  exactly 15 months to implement a plan, any plan, to overthrow the Cuban government.  Otherwise, their political days are numbered. The rightwing understands that:

1) the Bush Jr administration is in trouble and on the defensive and if Bush is defeated in 2004, then no other administration will be as friendly to them, again.

2) the growing opposition to, and difficulty with, the war in Iraq makes it less desirable or acceptable to have another US military adventure just to the south of Florida

3) the US government and exile-manufactured opposition within the island is in disarray, and those who remain within the "dissident" movement are throughly penetrated by Cuban security, as the government in Havana has shown,

4) contrary to all the US mass media misinformation about the "crisis" of the Cuban economy, the Cubanos are doing much better than the secular trend found in Latin America in the year 2003.

5) Latin America is moving to the left, and the Cuban economy is becoming more integrated in its economic plans with those of Brazil, Venezuela and prossibly Argentina; moreover, left movements are surfacing all over the region - again. The left probably will win elections in Nicaragua and El Salvador. And the recent Paraguay government has begun to have closer
relations with Havana.

6) within the US the interest by Americans to travel to Cuba continues to increase and business sectors have turned the commercial corne, every business that can export want to send a delegation to the island. Even small states are sending huge delegations.

At present the rightwing has just 4 options (1 and 2 depends on the administration, which could deliver):

1. put an end to any kind of US travel to the island; that is, stop all travel - including visits by Cuban Americans. However, the costs to the Cuban American community will be greater than to the Cuban government. People from the US will travel via third countries.

2. put an end to the legal but limited money remittances that US residents can make to Cuba.  Such a policy will alienate Cuban Americans and others, but in the age of Internet the transfers will continue.

3. foster somekind of confrontation between the Cuban government and ther United States government. However, such a thing depends on how the Cuban autjhorties will react and it quite clear that they will not allow themselves to over-react in a manner that will affect their security interests.

4. attempt to kill Fidel Castro. They have not succeeded in 44 years, and all that is required is that the Cuban leader do not travel abroad until January 2005. Moreover, acts or plans to conduct terrorist actions could work against the rightwing exiles.

As the months go by, the rightwing will get more strident and desperate. And they will put pressure on their people inside the island. That will lead to more arrests. And mass media campaign outside the island, but it will not get beyond that. (The visit by Aznar to Miami was in the vain hope that the European Union would do "something" but the EU has done as much as it would do).

The forthcoming Miami-5 legal proceedings in Atlanta might get the rightwing on the defensive as well.

As we get closer to November 2004, Miami will be permeated by the language of war and betrayal. This is not new. However, the end of the rightwing mafia has begun, at last.


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Nelson P Valdés

Nelson P Valdés

Profesor Emérito de la Universidad de Nuevo México. Es el director del Cuba-L Project.