More worrisome is the potential for civil war in Cuba once Fidel dies. Raul is pushing 80 himself, and lacks his brothers charisma. Raul is a disciplinarian, which may cause problems if he tries to get Cuba to "shape up" after Fidel dies. Unrest in Cuba resonates in the United States, which is only 150 kilometers a way. In Florida, a key state in national elections, the well organized Cuban-American minority is a political force to be reckoned with. And then there is also the problems that would accompany Cuban-Americans getting active involved in post-Fidel politics. Some Cuban-American leaders have made no secret of their eagerness to do this. So trying to figure out what Raul is up to is a pressing issue in the Pentagon, as it is elsewhere in Washington.
There are increasing indications that Fidel Castro is not going to return to power. His brother Raul has recently established close ties to nationalist elements in the Cuban Communist Party and in the Armed Forces. He has apparently played on suspicions that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez' wants to inherit Fidel's mantle as the leader of radicalism in Latin America, and could take actions that would compromise Cuban security and independence.