The 51st State?

I've always thought Cuba's ability to [barely] survive with the U.S. embargo (or as the Cuban people call it, a blockade) was in part due to Communist Leader Fidel Castro's (age 79) ability to adapt and survive. I thought he would live to 100.

Recent news reports speculate his health is deteriorating, causing need for surgery. He has temporarily ceded power to his younger brother Raul, age 75. (Well, people say 70 is "young.")

Our Miami-Cuban Exile friends are hopeful this is the end of Castro and that this Caribbean island is steps closer to liberation.

But then what? After chanting, "Ding. Dong. Castro's dead," the people will have to deal with Raul. In true succession, he should be ruling Cuba as a dictatorship but is there any chance he'd change the system to a democracy? Or, is he hungry for the power, like Prince Charles is patiently waiting for England's throne?

And how ready is Cuba to welcome Americans? When will Americans be able to legally visit and begin trade. Will the Cubans who immigrated to the U.S. return to Cuba and reclaim what was theirs? Or, will there be a mass exodus of Cubans to Florida's shores? And if that's the case, will the wet-feet/dry-feet policy be applicable? Importantly, how long before Cuba becomes the 51st U.S. state?

Guess I have some research to do.