The issue of succession is said to have increasingly pre-occupied Fidel Castro in recent times. It appears he sees his brother Raul as the most able of his cohorts to continue the revolution. The grooming of Raul for leadership is understood to have begun around five years ago, but he has been ever-present at his elder brother’s side since the beginning. “After me, he’s the one with the most experience” Fidel said in 2001.
For his part, Raul appears to know what will be required of him. “Of course, I would have authority, as would other colleagues, but we want the party to have it mainly” he said recently. Among the ‘colleagues’ Raul may have been referring to are Felipe Peres Roque and Carlos Lage.
They are considered other possible contenders to take up the reins. At 41 Peres Roque, the Foreign Affairs minister, would represent the ‘youth option’. Lage is a technocrat responsible for economic reforms. Ricardo Alarcon, President of the Assembly and a staunch defender of the Castro party line is also a contender. Whoever assumes the mantel it seems there will be no revolution in the revolution in the short term. Fidel Castro has outlasted 13 US administrations, maintaining an iron grip on Cuba and conceding nothing to his opponents. He has made it clear he expects the same from his successor.