“Fidel Castro has never taken off his uniform (except for the tailored suits he dons for appearances at international conferences) since the day he took power. [. . .] Cuba has been a garrison state run by a military caudillo for most of the past half-century. More than anything, the maximum leader always based his legitimacy on his status as commander in chief. The dynastic succession of his brother only formalizes the situation. As was once said of Prussia, Cuba is not a country that has an army but an army that has a country.
“Nor does this army confine itself to the stern questions of political and military power. Under the stewardship of Raul Castro, it has extended itself to become a large stakeholder in the few areas of the Cubaneconomy that actually make money. A military holding company known as ‘La Gaviota’ oversees perhaps as much as 60 percent of Cuban tourist revenues.”
Christopher Hitchens, writing on “The 18th Brumaire of the Castro Dynasty,” Aug. 7 in Slate at www.slate.com