Bloomberg Businessweek

Cuba’s Historic Transition Promises More of the Same

Raúl Castro is relinquishing the presidency, but his handpicked successor is not expected to buck the system
Díaz-Canel (left) with his mentor, Castro

To survive in Cuba, Alejandro Menéndez has kept one step ahead of the Communist government’s long reach. He used to shoot photographs for the alternative magazines that began to pop up when Raúl Castro assumed the presidency after his ailing brother Fidel stepped aside in 2006. After a crackdown on the independent press a few years ago, Menéndez and some friends started a music label they christened Band Era, a play on the Spanish word for flag. So far they’ve avoided scrutiny by eschewing political messages of any kind, he says.

Now, Cuba is approaching its most significant political transition in Menéndez’s lifetime. For the first time since the brothers led the revolution in 1959, the island nation of 11.5 million will be ruled by someone other than a Castro.

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