Manana in Cuba
Manana in Cuba
The Legacy of Castroism and Transitional Challenges for Cuba
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Mañana in Cuba is a comprehensive analysis of contemporary Cuba with an incisive perspective of the Cuban frame of mind and its relevancy for Cuba's future. Part one of the book critically explores the mindset Cubans have developed living under a totalitarian system and introduces modern concepts of choice architecture and governance that can be employed Mañana in Cuba to foster a democratic civil society. Part two turns to a discussion of the principles that should guide sociopolitical and economic transition policies in line with Cuban culture and history.

Mañana in Cuba offers a sophisticated analysis of the challenges and opportunities that will be present in post-Castro Cuba with an eye to intelligent, nuanced, and often “outside the box” solutions to aid business and government policymakers interested in Cuba's future. A unique aspect of this book is that it does not seek to unnaturally mend a decimated civil society, but rather, it offers policy approaches anchored on current Cuban ethos and society. This is a book about finding ways to facilitate the Cuban transition from totalitarianism and a centrally planned economy to liberal democracy and a free-market economic system. As the author argues, the alternative visions presented for Cuba's future matter because one of them will crystallize into the sociopolitical and economic narrative of the country for generations to come.

Chapter I - Cuba: Alternative Roads in an Uncertain Future


Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference

                       Robert Frost


As the Castro brothers’ era comes to an end, for Cubans two roads diverge in an uncertain future. Which one is taken, to paraphrase Robert Frost, will make all the difference. It is an obvious oversimplification to speak of Cuba’s future in terms of only two possible paths. There are myriad generic as well as indigenous variations of political and economic systems that may be adopted (and adapted) by any given society. The dichotomy here into just two non-overlapping alternatives is meant to spotlight one path that places individual freedoms and empowerment front-and-center, and another path that does not. One is a governing philosophy that embraces an understanding of human rights and individual freedoms as essential to sustained development; the other advocates the primacy of economic measures, even if undertaken outside the framework of democratic empowerment. One road leads to the advocacy of policies for a rapid democratic transition and the strengthening of civil society and democratic institutions, and the other leads to an indefinite wait before democratic reforms can be instituted.

At the most basic level, two opposed systems of values are at play: one in which primacy goes to human rights, freedoms, and democracy; and one in which priority is given to financial prosperity and economic growth. Understanding the consequences and implications of these alternative paths matters because the path chosen will crystallize the Cuban post-Castro narrative for generations to come.

Cuba today can be described as an impossible country (un país imposible), with unsustainable sociopolitical and economic arrangements. For the Cuban people, the experience of more than a half-century of living under a totalitarian regime, and under the constant bombardment of Marxist-Leninist rhetoric, means a legacy of economic, social, political and civil backwardness. This is a continuing legacy of civil society unpreparedness not unlike the one the country faced after the colonial period. Cuba’s dysfunctional heritage from a decadent Spain five centuries ago was a significant, perhaps dominant, factor in the post-colonial milieu of corruption and political confusion. Then, Madrid was Cuba’s model of political behavior, “a sort of decrepit teacher still living in the past.” From Spain’s inept political elite, Cubans learned about “bureaucratic corruption, caudillismo (warlords), dogmatic intolerance, messianic leadership, a malformed judicial system and a deformed government administration,” as well as militarism. These characteristics were evident during the first five decades of the Republic. As eminent Cuban historian and professor Jaime Suchlicki points out:


By the time of Chibás’ death [in 1951], Cuba’s political life was a sad spectacle … Politics came to be regarded by the Cuban people with disrespect. To become a politician was to enter into an elite, a new class apart from the interest of the people. The elected politicians did not owe allegiances to their constituencies, not even to their nation, but only to themselves … Political figures furthermore were the objects of popular mockery.


Today, the Castro brothers’ decadent politico-economic system bequeaths Cub

José Azel left Cuba in 1961 as a 13 year-old political exile in what has been dubbed Operation Pedro Pan-the largest unaccompanied child refugee movement in the history of the Western Hemisphere. He is currently dedicated to the in-depth analyses of Cuba’s economic, social, and political state, with a keen interest in post-Castro-Cuba strategies as a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies (ICCAS) at the University of Miami and has published extensively on Cuba related topics.

Dr. Azel was one of the founders of Pediatrix Medical Group, the nation’s leading provider of pediatric specialty services and served as its first Chief Financial Officer. He co-founded and serves as Board Chairman of Children’s Center for Development and Behavior, an organization dedicated to providing therapies for children with autism and other pervasive developmental disorders. Dr. Azel was an Adjunct Professor of International Business at the School of Business Administration, Department of Management, University of Miami.

He holds undergraduate and masters degrees in business administration and a Ph.D. in International Affairs from the University of Miami. Dr. Azel has a comprehensive general management background integrating broad functional experience in corporate governance, organizational development and finance.


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