What will happen when Castro proves mortal?
"A civil war", says my mother, honestly hoping there will be, such is the political hatred within that generation (and my mother hates both sides). Luckily, that generation is in their eighties (or late seventies, the yournger ones) and will not be followed.
What will happen, then? My opinion:
First, a power struggle within the military. Raúl Castro will try to be heir to his brother, but he was never popular and is the uglier face of the regime. I doubt that he'll succeed.
Cubans will not revolt, I think. Too afraid (and the Cuban way of Communism may yet have real support from about one fourth or one fifth of the population).
Since Cubans -unlike the Chinese- were taugh not to work, a Chinese path of Capitalism with a Communist regime (a perestroika without glasnost) is not feasable.
Then, some type of a collapse. Some sort of implossion. What sort? It depends of the attitude of the US government.
And after that? This is my prediction:
The diaspora will rule over the "islados" (the ones who remained in the island). Which part? I dunno.
The three big foreign influences will be the US, Spain and Mexico. In the medium run, the US influence will be the biggest.
The older refugees will want to go back and have their properties back (actually, like the elephants, all they'd want is to die there).
This will only cause trouble.
The newer generations of the diaspora will not go back to live there. they'll say, in English,: "Daddy, please understand. I am an American, I don't want to go live in Cuba". They'll send a manager on a temporary basis.
Cubans will have a big dissappointment with their regained freedom, because it will not translate soon in the purchasing power they dream of.
Foreign investors will have a big dissappointment will the Cuban work force. They'll find them literate, but little else. The work mystique has been totally lost, and the technological knowledge gap will prove tremendous (they are a good work force for technologies of the seventies, minus the discipline).
Cubans will find out they've been lied to in the educational field, too. They may think they're great mechanical engineers or accountants, but their skills are those of an average mechanical engineer or accountant who graduated decades ago and never was up-to-dated.
Industry will have to be almost totally rebuilt. There will be so many problems disciplining the work force, it may seem meaningless.
Tourism will be a big source of revenues. Casinos will be back. Cuba will be again the adult playground of the elites of the American continent.
Many "islado" Cubans will look with nostalgia at the days when people didn't work, but endlessly lazed at their job, had a secure minimum -vía the rationing book-, could cheat the State in many ways and took for granted the gifts from their exile relatives.
In other words, the poisonous legacy of the Castro regime will last well beyond the death of El Comandante en Jefe.