Bert Hoffmann

Transitions from Charismatic Rule: Theories of Leadership Change and Cuba’s Post-Fidel Succession

GIGA Working Paper, No. 56, August 2007

Abstract
For theories of political succession and charismatic authority, the almost half‐century long rule of Fidel Castro presents an extraordinary test case since Fidel in July 2006 handed over power ‘temporarily’ to his deputy and brother Raúl. On the background of Max Weber’s work on charismatic rule, the paper analyzes the way in which the Cuban leadership has responded to the succession question and identifies four aspects in which it differs from the succession problems typically attributed to charismatic rule: Cuba’s longstanding exceptionalism regarding the ‘second man’ behind the leader; the succession during the life‐time of the leader with a sui generis modus of ‘cohabitation’ between the outgoing and the incoming leader; the routinization of charisma which domestically allows a bureaucratic succession model with the Communist Party, rather than any individual, being postulated as Fidel Castro‘s heir; and as a correlate to the latter, the ritual transmission of Fidel’s charisma to a heir beyond the nation‐state, Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, as the new charismatic leader to continue Fidel Castro’s universal revolutionary mission.

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GIGA AutorInnen

Prof. Dr. Bert Hoffmann

Lead Research Fellow
Leitung GIGA Berlin Büro

Prof. Dr. Bert Hoffmann ist Lead Research Fellow am GIGA Institut für Lateinamerika-Studien, Leiter des GIGA Berlin-Büros und Professor für Politikwissenschaft an der Freien Universität Berlin. Er arbeitet zur politischen und sozialen Entwicklung Lateinamerikas und der Karibik und ist Senior Researcher im EU-Jean Monnet-Netzwerk-Projekt „Europe-Cuba Forum“.

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