While any power transition in Cuba is likely to go smoothly from the ailing Fidel Castro to his younger brother, Raul–at least in the short-term–perhaps, the bigger question is how the passing of the Cuban leader will encourage his protégé, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, to engage in more regional troublemaking.
Castro’s “Mini-Yo” has been rubbing elbows lately with the Russians, from whom he’s buying advanced weapons, and the Iranians, with whom he’s been discussing nuclear power. Clearly with an affinity for the repressive-types, he’s been to Belarus and Vietnam, too. Chavez sees himself as ready–and well positioned–to carry on Castro’s revolutionary legacy, leading Latin America–and others– in an “anti-yanqui” direction.
Of course, Chavez doesn’t have Castro’s revolutionary bona fides, but he has something equally important in exporting his Bolivarian revolution: Lots of oil. While Fidel’s political and physical demise could be imminent, best to remember that with an abundance of “liquid gold,” the wealthy Chavez could cause more trouble in our neighborhood than the indigent Castro ever did.