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.

Although the transfer of power from Fidel to Raúl has been relatively uneventful, potential divisions within the ruling elite, especially between the military and the Party, are likely to emerge before too long.


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