Castro’s Gone

The last bastion of communism (Cuba) is now going to have new leadership because Fidel Castro is stepping down.

Fidel Castro said Tuesday he would step down as the president of Cuba after a long illness, opening the way for his brother Raúl Castro or another member of his inner circle to become Cuba’s president when Parliament chooses a new leader this weekend. [NYT]

As you may or may not recall, we discussed the effects of communism in class, and we found that when compared with a comparable economy, communist countries suffered somewhere between 40-94% of economic losses (depending on how you count, and where you are located).

So does that mean Cuba will now be part of the global economy? The word on the street is that not much will change.

Since stepping into his brother’s office, Raúl Castro has invited criticism from the public on how the country’s Communist system has come up short. He has been barraged with feedback.

The bus system is a wreck, they say. Food is too expensive, they grouse. Why are hotels limited to foreigners? And why are there two currencies, one for foreigners and a far less useful one for Cubans?

It is those reforms that seem to matter most to Cubans, not a reshuffling — even a dramatic one like this — of the government’s organizational chart. [NYT]

And the US isn’t ready to lift the trade embargo.

In Washington, John D. Negroponte, deputy secretary of state, said it was unlikely that the United States would lift its trade embargo on Cuba, Reuters reported.

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