Last week I posed the $64 million dollar question: Where will Fidel be buried?

Far more important (worth a cool billion on the same scale), and the question I’m asked the most: Who will take over Cuba after Raúl Castro?

My answer usually goes like this…

“Well, according to the constitution, the First Vice-President, Miguel Diaz-Canel, will take over. He’s a civilian hand-picked by Raúl and approved by the Council of Ministers. But the Council is dominated by raulitos (men, and a few women, loyal to Raúl). Most are military figures with a vested interest in maintaining the system. The burning question is: how much freedom will Diaz-Canel have, and to what degree will he be in hock to the real power-brokers?”

Diaz Canel

A more nuanced answer probes deeper into Cuba’s mysterious and opaque political scene.

And no-one can do so like Ann Louise Bardach, who I consider the foremost journalist covering Cuban politics today.

Bardach, the author of Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana (2002) and Without Fidel: A Death Foretold in Havana, Miami and Washington (2009), never fails to unearth revealing insights and anecdotes.

She’s not the first to make an argument that Raúl’s son, Alejandro Castro Espin, 53-year-old colonel and intelligence czar, is being groomed for succession. But she makes a great case in this marvelous piece, “Obama’s Favorite Castro,” published today in Politico.


A Castro dynasty? Don’t be surprised.


Christopher P Baker


Christopher P. Baker, one of the world's most multi-talented and successful travel writers and photographers has been named by National Geographic as one of the world's foremost authorities on Cuba travel and culture. Winner of the Lowell Thomas Award 2008 as 'Travel Journalist of the Year,' he has authored more than 30 books, leads tours for National Geographic Expeditions, Edelwiss Bike Travel, and Jim Cline Photo Tours, among other companies, and is a Getty Images and National Geographic contributing photographer.