Can Cuba Change? Tensions in the Regime

Issue Date January 2009
Volume 20
Issue 1
Page Numbers 20-35
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Relative to other twentieth-century totalitarian experiments, the Cuban regime has developed a special mix of control, mobilization, and harassment. Since the crushing of internal opposition in the 1960s, the regime has created a system of “vertical” controls that concentrate power in the hands of the state and “disempower” and “direct” society, while in the process diminishing alternative or horizontal information flows, contacts, organizations, and solidarity networks. Over the past fifteen years, the regime has moved from full totalitarianism to a more transitional “charismatic post-totalitarianism.” Since Fidel Castro fell ill in 2006, the trend toward posttotalitarianism has deepened, and the pending question now is whether the Cuban regime will “mature” into this phase, or move toward another regime type.

About the Author

Eusebio Mujal-León is associate professor of government at Georgetown University and director of the Cuba XXI Project there. His books include Communism and Political Change in Spain (1983), European Socialism and the Conflict in Central America (1989), and The USSR and Latin America (1989).

View all work by Eusebio Mujal-León