Cuba’s facing many problems: the collapse of its ally and benefactor, Venezuela; recovering from the damage caused by Hurricane Irma; increased hostility from the Trump Administration; Cuba’s government’s fear of an expanding private sector of the economy; declining visitors from the U.S.; a declining national economy; the imminent political transition next February and the regime’s blocking 175 independent candidates from the upcoming election of municipal councils.
A Miami Herald article gathers experts’ speculation over whether Raúl Castro will in fact relinquish the presidency next February; whether the presumed new president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, will be capable of handling all of these problems; whether hardliners in the regime have been or will be empowered. Read it to get the full flavor of these and other speculations.
 Whitefield & Gámez, Raúl Castro: Will he stay in power in Cuba or retire? Miami Herald (Nov. 21, 2017).
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Another Indication of Cuba’s Economic Troubles
Chinese exports to Cuba for the first 10 months of 2017 are down 29.8% from the same period of the prior year. These Chinese exports Cuba inlcude machinery, transportation equipment, raw materials, chemicals and food. The Chinese commercial office in Havana said the decline was due to Cuba’s difficulty in paying for the goods.
Such exports peaked at $1.9 billion in 2015, declined to $1.8 billion in 2016.
Reuters, China’s Exports to Cuba Slump as Island’s Cash Crunch Deepens, N.Y. Times (Dec. 6, 2017), https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2017/12/06/business/06reuters-cuba-china.html