Considering what has happened to communism in Europe the past year or so, will Fidel Castro's Cuban clutch be broken in 1992 as his nation's economic woes mount, and weary people become increasingly impatient about the arrival of the good life they so long have been promised?
While some clairvoyants determined this time last year that Mikhail Gorbachev might not be around on a position of power for 1992, there was doubt that would happen, communism having the roots it did in Eastern Europe. But Gorbachev is truly out, and Boris Yeltsin and his compatriots are in. Without Mother Moscow to nurture Cuba as it has done for so long, can Castro finish the new year with his customary degree of power?
While the plight of communism in Europe can't help affecting a former Soviet Union soulmate such as China, the Chinese at least for now do not seem likely to move as far and fast down the road to change as their European counterparts. The isolated Castro is another matter.
Already there have been rumors Castro will assume a new role and set up some figureheads to take the fall if and when it comes. But will Fidel be able to land on his feet as safely as Gorbachev did?
We may not have to wait until January of next year to get an answer, considering the sorry economic situation on the small communist-controlled island some 80 miles from Florida. There are those who contend Castro cannot survive another summer in his current role in Cuba.