Question: Will Fidel Castro’s death bring change to Cuba?
Robert Menendez: Well I don’t think that that act alone will change Cuba. Certainly Fidel Castro will be the end of the dictatorship of one person, but that does not guarantee democracy on the flip side. I do believe that when Fidel Castro meets his maker, that ultimately the question is, “How does change take place?” I don’t believe that Raul Castro has a relationship with the Cuban people that Fidel Castro had, which was both a love-hate relationship. And I believe that he will not be able to continue to be the next dictator because the Cuban people, in that human spirit that we talked about earlier more generally, desire the fundamental things that any human being on the face of the earth desire. That individual freedom; the opportunity to worship at the altar that they choose; the opportunity to fulfill their God-given potential without being told by the state what their potential is; the opportunity to prosper by the sweat of their own brow; the opportunity to choose those who govern them. And so that and so much more that is pent up within Cuban society, I don’t think will allow Fidel Castro’s brother Raul to stay in power long. But I just don’t simply think that the death of Fidel Castro, whenever that takes place, automatically means democracy or respect of human rights of the Cuban people. That still will be a work in progress.
Recorded on: 9/12/07