Cuba’s Old Guard Hangs On, Leaving Leadership Transition in Doubt

For many Cuba-watchers, the highlight of Fidel Castro's speech before the 6th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party in Havana on Saturday was a call to shorten term limits for the country's politicians.

The Castro brothers have held office so tightly and for so long, however, that questions are being raised about the extent to which Cuba's relatively tiny circle of political elite can nurture the sort of leadership transition that now appears on the near horizon.

"It's a fair question, whether there are a broad enough set of younger people who can assume the mantle of leadership inside the Cuban Communist Party and the state system," says Geoff Thale, program director at the Washington Office on Latin America.

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