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FROM THIS EPISODE

After 49 years as the leader of Communist Cuba, Fidel Castro has stepped down. In Pakistan, the party of America's ally, President Pervez Musharraf, has been drubbed at the polls. Will Castro's brother, Raul, continue Cuba's current regime or will a younger generation embrace democracy as the US demands? Will Musharraf be impeached by a parliament now dominated by opposition parties? Will Islamic extremists have more influence or less? We look at how US interests will be affected both in South Asia and on the Caribbean island 90 miles from American shores.


Cuban President Fidel Castro (L) and his younger brother Raul, Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, chat on December 23, 2003 in Havana, during the last meeting of the Cuban Parliament. Photo: Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images

Producers:
Christian Bordal
Karen Radziner
Katie Cooper
Sonya Geis

Main Topic Election Returns Pakistan from Military to Civilian Rule 27 MIN, 16 SEC

In parliamentary elections, voters have repudiated President Pervez Musharraf by giving two opposition parties control of Pakistan's National Assembly. Musharraf told visiting US Senators today he accepts his party's resounding defeat in today's elections. Despite fears of vote-rigging and violence, international observers say the success of two opposition parties accurately reflects the will of the voters. Can Musharraf, an American ally, hold on to his job?  What about Islamic extremists, the war on terror and control of nuclear weapons? We hear about the future of that country and relations with the US.

Guests:
Rasul Baksh Rais, Director of the Area Studies Center, Quaid-i-Azam University
Graham Usher, Freelance journalist
Rahimullah Yusufzai, Executive Editor, The News International
Ayesha Siddiqa, Visiting Professor, University of Pennsylvania

Making News Fidel Castro Says He's Stepping Down 21 MIN, 53 SEC

After 49 years as the leader of Communist Cuba, Fidel Castro has stepped down. Less than a week before the National Assembly will meet to select a new head of state, Castro says he is no longer “in the physical condition" to run the government, but expressed confidence in “elements of the old guard" and “others who were very young when the first stage of the revolution began." Speaking from Africa today, George W. Bush called for the release of political prisoners. The resignation of the 81-year old leader, who served during the terms of ten US presidents, is big news in the streets of Miami, where Cuban refugees and their descendents dominate local politics. Will Castro's brother, Raul, continue Cuba's current regime or will a younger generation embrace democracy as the US demands?

Guests:
Ray Sanchez, Havana Reporter, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Oscar Corral, Reporter, Miami Herald
William LeoGrande, Dean of the School of Public Affairs, American University
Susan Kaufman Purcell, Dean of the School of Public Affairs, American University

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