Despite mounting economic difficulties, the Cuban government is not likely to open up Cuba's economy or to offer meaningful concessions for normalization of relations with the United States.

The Castro brothers believe that increasing hardships will not produce an internal rebellion. Gen. Raúl Castro recently reduced the availability of food that Cubans receive through ration cards. If there was concern for popular unrest, this type of measure would have not been introduced.

Political and economic centralization and control, along with ideological rigidity, are the chosen policies to guarantee a successful succession and to prevent Cuba's transformation into a democratic, market economy.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.