"Over the past few years, there has been increased speculation about Cuba's future without Fidel Castro, who has ruled the country since the 1959 Cuban revolution. Castro turned 79 on August 13, 2005, and while over the years news of his imminent demise proved premature, his advanced age makes the date of his departure from the political scene all the closer. The U.S. government has begun to plan in various ways for Cuba without Fidel at the helm. This has included examining transition issues and appointing a State Department Cuba Transition Coordinator. Some observers, however, question the adequacy of the transition planning, in part because it does not recognize the likelihood of a successor communist government headed by Fidel's brother Raúl. This report first examines various transition scenarios for Cuba after Fidel Castro. It then examines implications of the transition for U.S. policy, including U.S. government preparation and current legislative conditions for dealing with a new government. This report will not be updated. For further information on Cuba, including current legislative initiatives, see CRS [Congressional Research Service] Report RL32730, 'Cuba: Issues for the 109th Congress'; and CRS Report RL31139, 'Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances.'"
CRS Report for Congress, RS22228