Friday, March 23, 2007

Profile: Carlos Lage Davila

Although Raul Castro seems to have secured power in Cuba for the moment, the new President will be 77 years of age in June of this year. His age has sparked considerable speculation regarding the next in line of succession. Many Cuba observers have been mentioning Carlos Lage Davila, current Executive Secretary of the Council of Ministers. From CBC News:

To most of the international community, Lage is the least well known of the potential successors. But inside the country, he is the man with his finger on the key sectors, particularly energy, trade and currency. In his mid-50s, he has had what's been called a history of achievement when it comes to the case of Cuba's cash-strapped economy.

In the early 1990s, during a stint as adviser to Castro, he initiated a series of economic reforms that allowed for limited land holdings and small business initiatives.

His most recent coup was negotiating a guaranteed supply of subsidized oil from fellow leftists in Venezuela, in exchange for medicines and a small army of 2,000 Cuban doctors and health professionals to live in Venezuela for a time and treat that country's poor.

A doctor by training, a pediatrician in fact, Lage is one of those technocrats who seems to adapt quickly to other disciplines and has become Cuba's primary economic fixer. His leadership advantage, should it come to that, is that he is a good Communist who was rising on his own up the party ranks when he was spotted and advanced by Raul Castro, with whom Lage is said to be close.

Warning!

This is part of a foreign policy simulation for the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce. The events depicted are not actually happening.