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Home / World / Where are the Castro Kids? The next generation of the Cuban dynasty lies deep.

Where are the Castro Kids? The next generation of the Cuban dynasty lies deep.



Mariela Castro, daughter of President Raúl Castro and the Cuban director of the National Center for Sexual Education (CENESEX), is taking part in a march against homophobia in Havana on 1

2 May 2012. (STR / AFP / Getty Images)

This week, Cuba entered a new era for Castro. For 60 years, the country was run directly by two members of a family. First there was Fidel Castro, a charismatic but often unscrupulous revolutionary who was prime minister between 1959 and 1986 and was president until 2008.

After Fidel's resignation, his younger brother and faithful ally Raul took the lead.

On Thursday, 86-year-old Raúl Castro resigned as head of the Cuban Council of State, a position that is actually Cuba's president. There was only one candidate to succeed him: Miguel Díaz-Canel, a 58-year-old non-Castro civilian.

Is this the end of the dynasty that dominated Cuba for decades? Probably not. Many critics say that Raul, who will remain the head of the Communist Party until the end of his tenure in 2021, would keep the real power to himself. It is noteworthy that the next generation of the dynasty – the Castro children – officially does not take over.

Many political dynasties operate on the basis of their bloodline. An obvious example is North Korea, another small, still nominally communist country that emerged as a separate state at the same time as the Cuban Revolution brought the Castros to power. The Kim Dynasty, founded by Kim Il Sung, has taken power for three generations. There is no indication that it will be abandoned in the foreseeable future.

When the transmission of power from generation to generation is common in autocracies, this is not unknown even in democracies. Even in the United States, political power can be passed down through generations. Two generations of the Bush family have held the presidency within two decades – and certainly another President Trump is not out of the blue for the United States of the Future.

Raúl Castro had the choice to choose his successor – he had Díaz-Canel open hand-picked described Thursday. "His choice is no coincidence," Castro said. But Raúl did not choose Castro, although there were plenty of choices: although details of the extended family were once kept secret, it is now believed that Fidel had 11 children, while Raul himself had four.

Some of the younger castros are obviously unfit for the job. Fidel's only son from his first marriage, also known as Fidel, but popularly known as little Fidelito, was once responsible for Cuba's nuclear program. He was removed from many government positions in 1992 after arguing with his father, who allegedly accused him of "incompetence"; He killed himself at the beginning of the year

Another prominent child was Alina Fernández, born of an affair between Fidel and a Cuban celebrity who fled Cuba in 1993 and became a loud critic of the Cuban government. Most of Fidel's famous children from his second wife seemed to avoid the limelight: a son was a state photographer; another collaborated with the Cuban Baseball Federation; and another was once reported as a computer scientist. Nobody seems to have had political ambitions.

Raul's children are more politically minded. One daughter, Mariela Castro, is a prominent activist in AIDS prevention and LGBT rights and a member of the Cuban National Assembly. Her brother, Alejandro Castro Espín, leads Cuba's counter-intelligence services and secretly helped negotiate with the Obama administration. Also noteworthy is General Luis Alberto Rodriguez López-Callejas, formerly Raul's son-in-law, who holds a strong position and leads the Cuban military industry.

This combination of two file photos shows Fidel Castro smoking a cigar in Havana on April 29, 1961, left, and his brother Raúl Castro, on the right, at a secret location in Cuba in 1959. (AP)

This younger generation will probably play a role behind the scenes in Cuba. However, the Castro family also has a political split: Fidel and Raul's sister Juanita Castro fled Cuba after working with the Central Intelligence Agency in 1964. The family of Fidel Castro's first wife, Mirt Diaz-Balart, became a prominent American critic of the Castro regime.

When Raúl Castro handed over the presidency to Díaz-Canel, he emphasized this continuation as a theme of power conversion. Díaz-Canel himself said he would "bring continuity to the Cuban revolution" and change in the context of Cuban socialism. The consensus-building reputation is expected to largely follow the cautious reforms of Raúl Castro. If the current plan is correct, Díaz-Canel will take a powerful position in Cuban politics by 2031; first as president for two terms, then as leader of the Communist Party for two terms.

Such a change might be in line with what Fidel Castro would have wanted. When Fidelito was dismissed from government in 1992, Fidel told a journalist: "What's the problem? We do not have a monarchy here."

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A story of two brothers as the Castro era comes to an end

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