Cuban blogger Yusnaby offers his list of the potential successors to Raul Castro when he steps aside in 2017, and there are some unsurprisingly familiar names on the list:
1. First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez. The man currently on an around-the-world trip from the looks of it. The front-runner by many accounts, described as less boring and belligerent than the older generation but his current proximity to power and high profile has led to jealousy among some of the older partisans who may try and derail any further advances in his career.
2. Marino Murillo Jorge: Minister of the Economy and Vice President of the Council of State. The man tasked by Raul Castro with elaborating and implementing the series of economic reforms that have occurred over the last five years. He is the face of economic change on the island, but is dogged by personal scandals over the relative opulence of his personal home and some fancy Varadero holidays.
3. Mariela Castro Espin. Raul Castro’s daughter and current head of the National Sex Education Center. She is the face of a more “tolerant” Castroism, championing the rights of gay and lesbians on the island and abroad. In her case, the surname Castro might be a liability — especially if Cuba is putting on its “change” face for the world. Military leaders and the more conservative Communists on the island aren’t terribly fond of her, either.
4. Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo: One of the famous “Five Heros” sprung by Obama as part of the deal to normalize relations with the island. He’s been all over the press and television since his release, and the foundering Revolution could use a new symbol to replace the old ones. Shades of Nelson Mandela, or so they say. His history as a spy could be problemmatic, however, and he has no political experience.
5. Alejandro Castro Espin: The only son of Raul Castro. Yusnaby thinks he has very little going for him other than his status as his father’s “personal assistant,” some connections with the FSB in Moscow and his long-winded discourses on revolutionary ideals that may appeal to military and conservative Communists.
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