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Fidel's Children

We all know that Fidel Castro is going to depart the scene - as much, too, that the US will doubtlessly continue it idiotic policy toward the island-State. In fact, many say that the parlous economic state of Cuba can be laid at the door of the Americans.

But now what? Newsweek reports in "Fidel's Children":

"For years, Fidel Castro has been a living anachronism. A stalwart communist in an age of free markets and democracy, he ruled a Cuba largely cut off from a world prospering through international trade. By the end he was out of touch at home as well, both metaphorically and literally. For 19 months, the ailing 81-year-old leader had stayed out of sight, too sick to venture out, reduced to publishing ponderous "reflections" on the front page of the Cuban Communist Party's organ, Granma. By the time he resigned last week, there was something almost anticlimactic about it. Cubans—including émigrés in Miami and elsewhere—have waited so long for a change they barely knew what to make of the abrupt announcement. The streets of Havana remained quiet.

But even before Castro's resignation, things had started to shift under the surface. A new generation of Cubans had started to give voice to their anger and frustration in ways unthinkable just a few years ago. [See León Krauze's column on the Castro myth.] According to some estimates, more than half of Cuba's population are between 15 and 45 years of age, and to them it hardly matters whether Fidel's brother, Raúl, is formally chosen as his successor this week, or whether another aging communist gets the nod. Young Cubans are starting to publicly demand that the regime make tangible improvements in their lives. Their wish lists are decidedly apolitical. Instead of pining for democracy, most are focused on things foreign peers take for granted: the freedom to travel abroad, unrestricted Internet access, enough disposable income to buy a cell phone or an iPod. "These young students are asking, 'Why are things banned, why are we not allowed to leave the island?'" notes Miriam Leiva, a dissident who once held a high-level post in the Cuban Foreign Ministry."

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