Political Change To Come Despite Legacy Of Intransigence

BMI View: The Cuban political system is tightly controlled by a small number of individuals, many of whom are of an advanced age, which presents significant scope for uncertainty over the coming decade. Internationally, Cuba has begun to reposition itself with a view to greatly increasing its engagement with international markets, a strategy that will be supported by the US's softening of policy towards the island.

We believe that the next decade will be a time of substantial change and political uncertainty in Cuba, despite the fact that President Raúl Castro and his brother Fidel have already begun to make preparations for their eventual departure from the political scene, handpicking loyalists and eventual successors to ensure ideological purity and continuity.

Political power in Cuba is highly concentrated in the hands of just a handful of people, particularly the Politburo of the Communist party. This body of 15 people has six members over the age of 75. Raúl Castro's current presidential term (which he has stated will be his last) ends in 2018, after which it appears likely that First Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez will take the helm. While Díaz-Canel is considered a hardliner by many observers, we believe that there is a growing consensus within the Cuban political leadership that the country needs to follow a more pragmatic path in the years ahead, and we expect the end of the Castro brothers' era to mark a major turning point in Cuban politics. However, given the scope of the challenges that are in many ways at odds with still-entrenched ideological impulses, we expect that, compared with those of its regional peers, Cuba's business environment will remain poor for many years to come, and the uncertainty both at home and abroad that will accompany this state of political flux will present its own challenges.

A Demographic Anomaly
Cuba - 2014 Median Age & Population Growth

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Related sectors of this article: Political Risk
Geography: Cuba

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