Friday, October 22, 2010

Predicting Cuba: Uncharted territory

Havana Bay

Jaime Suchlicki, director of the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami, is one of America’s foremost Cuba experts.
In 2003, he outlined 21 future scenarios, along with the probability of them taking place within the next two or three years. Among those scenarios:
  • Fidel dies and his brother Raúl takes over in an orderly fashion - 80%.
  • Fidel and Raúl both die, and the Cuban military takes over - 60%.
  • Refugees flood U.S. base at Guantánamo, sparking violence - 30% to 40%.
  • Cuba undergoes peaceful transition to democracy - less than 20%.
  • Violent demonstrations in Cuba bring down Castro regime - less than 20%.
  • Cuba's military stages a coup d'etat - 10%.
  • The United States sends the Marines into Cuba - less than 5%.
  • Fidel is assassinated - less than 5%.
After I posted these percentages, one reader wrote:
Is it possible to know how he got these forecasts?
Another had a similar reaction, telling me in a message:
How did Jaime Suchlicki arrive at the percentages? Why an 80% chance instead of, say, 77%?
Or, what is the name of the crystal ball store where he bought his predictive powers?
Or, "98% of all statistics are made up. ~Author Unknown"
I confess I don't know how Suchlicki came up with those numbers.

4 comments:

Lazaro Gonzalez said...

is possible to know how he got these forecasts?

Tracey Eaton said...

I don't know where he got those numbers...

Lazaro Gonzalez said...

thank you. I cant say right now how many forecasts I read about Cubas situation and all them failed. Why? There many reasons but from my view three are the principals.

1] Castros regimen behaviour is very predictable on some points but really uncertain on others.
2]Most of the forecasters left Cuba many years ago and they lost contact with the real Cuba.
3] Usually most of the "cubanologos" used classic techniques that not always are fit to Cuba reality.

If I find it Ill let you know. Thank very much.

Tracey Eaton said...

Lazaro,
What you say makes sense. It can be difficult to track changes in Cuba from afar. And future scenarios are hard to predict. When people ask me what I think Cuba will be like in five years, I have a hard time answering. The country's future situation depends on so many factors that could change: the state of the economy, the ability of people to communicate and get information, the current Cuban leadership, U.S. strategy and moves, etc.
By the way, I found the Suchlicki predictions here:
http://www.luxner.com/cgi-bin/view_article.cgi?articleID=1078