By Allison Fedirka
Summary Much has been written on the U.S.-Cuba bilateral relationship. The power dynamics within the Cuban government are less understood. Military and familial ties are prevalent among the elite power players in all sectors, and will likely have a strong influence on determining President Raúl Castro’s successor. So far, the elite have not been threatened by the U.S.-Cuba reconciliation and the slight opening of the Cuban economy, but the future remains unclear.
In Cuba, elite is synonymous with political power, which has been concentrated in the hands of a select few since 1965. In 1965, Fidel Castro consolidated control of Cuba and the current system of government was officially established. Today power remains concentrated among an elite circle of politicians and military officers loyal to Cuban President Raúl Castro. Raúl assumed leadership of the country in February 2008, when his brother Fidel stepped down due to health problems. In 2009, Raúl res