Fidel Castro officially stepped down as Cuba’s head of state this morning, allegedly for health reasons. This will fuel speculations over whether he’s already dead (his passing being kept under wraps to keep the population from becoming restless), near death, senile, or completely incapacitated — as well as speculations about what, if any, changes this will bring.
I have to agree with the conventional wisdom that Fidel’s younger brother Raul will almost certainly take over permanently (he’s already taken over on a “provisional” basis). Whether Raul introduces some Chinese-style market reforms — that is, while keeping tight political control — is anybody’s guess.
In fact, Cuba’s entire future is anybody’s guess. For nearly all of the Castro era, analyzing Cuban politics has involved Kremlinology-style reading of tea leaves. So I wonder what seasoned Cuba watchers will make of this photo?