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In 2008 Raul Castro took over a country where most people couldn't own computers or cellphones, leave without permission, run most types of private businesses or enter resort hotels. Castro set about re-engineering the system he had helped create and Cuba opened dramatically over his decade in office. But when Castro steps down as president Wednesday he will leave his successor with a host of problems that are deeper than on the day his brother Fidel formally handed over power.Cuba has nearly 600,000 private entrepreneurs, more than 5 million cellphones, a bustling real estate market and one of the world's fastest-growing airports. Tourism numbers have more than doubled since Castro and President Barack Obama re-established diplomatic relations in 2015, making Cuba a destination for nearly 5 million visitors a year, despite a plunge in relations under the Trump administration.Castro's inability or unwillingness to fix Cuba's structural problems with deep and wide-ranging reforms has many wondering how a successor without Castro's founding father credentials will manage the country over the next five or 10 years.Despite the image of Raul Castro as an all-powerful military strongman, many Cubans say back-and-forth moves and the overall slow pace of reform have shown the difficulty of modernizing a Soviet-era bureaucracy controlled by hundreds of thousands of civil servants who would be threatened by a transition into a market economy – a difficulty Castro's successor will also face.Castro's successor will have to manage the delicate relationship with Cuba's prosperous exiles at a time when relations with the U.S. have dropped from an unprecedented high under Obama to a deep low under President Donald Trump.
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