4
Why Does Castro Survive?

J. Richard Planas

The question, "Why does Castro survive?" has drawn considerable political interest following the collapse of Marxist-Leninist socialism in Eastern Europe. Many, from the layman to the scholar to political leaders and exile political figures, believe that Fidel Castro should never have, and should not now continue to defy the socialist law of gravity. Indeed, quite a few prominent figures have staked their credibility in predicting his demise.

Many who continue to predict Castro's fall from power have a compelling moral reason for wishing the collapse of the regime: They regard it as oppressive and unjust. In most instances, their forecasts go hand-in-hand with a set of attitudes and behavior patterns indicating, as it might be expected, a strong opposition to the regime. Throughout the years, these attitudes and behavior have had a considerable impact on, and likely will continue to affect, the course of Cuban politics. Analyzing why Castro has not yet fallen can be helpful to the extent that it draws attention to the interplay among the inner workings of the current Cuban system, the impact of the above attitudes and behavior toward Cuba, and Castro's continued ability to remain in power.

By way of initial explanation, predictions regarding Castro's imminent fall have failed to materialize largely because they have relied on imprecise interpretations of events in Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, and China; they have failed to take into account certain aspects regarding the internal dynamics of the Cuban political system; and they have overlooked certain political realities that inadvertently have contributed to the stability of the regime.

One of those political realities is that, as the history of the modern state suggests, with few exceptions, national political leaders overall have enormous staying power. Such power is magnified when leaders exercise an authoritarian style of leadership, and more so when their style is accompanied

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