Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Stakes are high with Fidel gone

I?ve never been one to accept conspiracy theories as
anything worthwhile. Nor have I ever been one to insinuate a claim based on
events that could be easily aligned to prove a point. But early Tuesday morning
the world watched as a huge swing in international politics took place, which
not even the most fervent conspiracy theorist would have believed.

In a letter addressed to his compatriots in the state-run
newspaper Granma, Fidel Castro formally announced his resignation as commander
in chief of Cuba. In his letter, he concentrated on the various achievements
his administration has achieved while in power. It is not, however, his past
achievements as a communist leader that interests the world population; rather,
it is the future of his country that is being analyzed by leaders around the

The news of a ?Fidel-less? Cuba comes at a rather strategic
point in Cuban politics. His resignation came just before the Cuban National
Assembly was to meet in order to vote on a new leader. Had his resignation
letter not been in hand, Mr. Castro would have surely been re-elected and communism
90 miles off the coast of Florida would still exist. But now with Castro?s
brother Raul in power, Cuba has quite a different look to it in the
international arena.


Raul Castro has long been the counterpart to his stubborn
brother. With tendencies toward democratic and new-world ideology, Raul Castro
has countries all over the globe licking their lips. Many believe that Cuba is
ready for a major change, and the potential for Cuba to once again be a proving
ground for political ideology is a reality.

With U.S. and Cuban relations being almost non-existent for
the last 46 years, U.S. politicians are already weighing in on Cuban potential.
All four current presidential hopefuls have already called for the release of
all political prisoners and a democratic revolution. But is it really
surprising that the U.S. would stick its nose into ?spreading democracy?? That
is the major issue at hand. With the rather open-mindedness of Raul Castro, one
might wonder which direction Cuba is going to go politically and what players
in the international forum are going try to sway its thinking.

Last week both Chinese and Russian leaders made rather
ominous remarks directed toward the United States and its military program.
While Russia is in a sense considered a republic, China remains communist,
along with Cuba. However, with the changing political climate in Cuba and the
relative distaste for the United States by both Russia and China, Cuba?s future
is looking more and more like an international issue to be decided by the
superpowers of the world.

Currently, there are only five countries still practicing
communism, and China ? being the face of modern communism ? would expectedly
like to retain a communist base worldwide. China has made investments in Cuban
tourism, biotechnology and mining for the last four years. In addition, China
has a 10-year interest-free loan agreement with Cuba, tying the two countries
together for years to come.

In a sense, the true issue of Cuba is going to be Cuba. The
decisions Raul Castro and his administration will make in the years to come
will influence and direct the goals of countries with a political and economic
interest in Cuba.

Another Cold War may be too rash to suggest, but Cuba does
have the potential to be the location for a proxy war of international
ideologies. The decisions Cuba makes in the short term has the utmost potential
to influence the decisions the United States, Russia, China and numerous other countries
make in the long run.

Ben Patterson ([email protected])
is a junior majoring in political science.

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