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Fidel Castro’s Death Heralds Period of Change for Cuba

© Flickr / Las Razones de CubaFidel Castro
Fidel Castro - Sputnik International
As the world takes stock of Fidel Castro’s death, it remains to be seen how this event will affect Cuba and the country’s relations with the United States.

Cuban revolutionary leader and former president Fidel Castro passed away on Friday, November 25, at the age of 90.

Dr. Mervyn Bain, head of the Department for Politics and International Relations at the University of Aberdeen, told Radio Sputnik that Castro was “one of the iconic figures of the 20th century” who stood up to the US hegemony and whose role in Cuba’s history cannot be underestimated.

He pointed out that despite the fact that during the last few years Fidel Castro appeared to be a largely symbolical figure, his brother, President Raul Castro, was likely reluctant to implement any significant changes in Cuba’s life simply because they "would be criticism of his brother, the leader of the revolution." Now however, it seems that Fidel Castro’s death may allow the Cuban government to consider enacting reforms they were reluctant to pursue when he was alive and well.

"You wouldn’t expect wholesale change over the next few years but there certainly will be change," he said, adding that the younger generation of Cubans may be especially eager to see these changes, especially in the sphere of economics.

Bain also remarked that there were already a number of significant changes in Cuba’s foreign policy when Fidel Castro was still alive – namely, the thaw in relations with the United States and establishing stronger ties with Russia.

"So you would imagine that Cuba is going to continue its foreign policy in general as their relationship with the United States improves. And internally you’d imagine that it would be the economy that would see more change as Cubans desire more change in economic policy," he speculated.

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However, it remains to be seen how US-Cuban relations will develop because it’s unclear exactly how eager the Trump administration will be to pursue the current course, Dr. Bain added.

Also, he said that the lifting of the US embargo imposed against Cuba appears to be unlikely in the near future as there are still plenty of “significant people” in the US Congress who don’t want it gone.

"It will eventually go, though it might not be in the next year or two; it might take longer than that… It depends on what Trump does when he becomes president," Dr. Bain surmised.

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