Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Fidel Castro still not dead, but close

By his own acknowledgement.

“I’ll be 90 years old soon,” Castro said in his most extensive public appearance in years. “Soon I’ll be like all the others. The time will come for all of us, but the ideas of the Cuban Communists will remain as proof on this planet that if they are worked at with fervor and dignity, they can produce the material and cultural goods that human beings need, and we need to fight without a truce to obtain them.”


“This may be one of the last times I speak in this room,” Fidel Castro said. “We must tell our brothers in Latin America and the world that the Cuban people will be victorious.”

Es demasiado dramática.

Fifty-five years after Fidel Castro declared that Cuba’s revolution was socialist and began installing a single-party system and centrally planned economy, the Cuban government is battling a deep crisis of credibility.

With no memory of the revolution’s heady first decades, younger Cubans complain bitterly about low state salaries of about $25 a month that leave them struggling to afford food and other staple goods. Cuba’s creaky state-run media and cultural institutions compete with flashy foreign programming shared online and on memory drives passed hand-to-hand. Emigration to the United States and other countries has soared to one of its highest points since the revolution.

A nation's leaders completely out of touch with its citizens.  Imagine that.

The ideological gulf between government and people widened last month when President Barack Obama became the first U.S. leader to visit Cuba in nearly 90 years and delivered a widely praised speech live on state television urging Cubans to forget the history of hostility between the U.S. and Cuba and move toward a new era of normal diplomatic and economic relations.

The Cuban government offered little unified response until the Communist Party’s Seventh Party Congress began Saturday, and one high-ranking official after another warned that the U.S. was still an enemy that wants to take control of Cuba. They said Obama’s trip represented an ideological “attack.”


Jon Lee Anderson, a staff writer at The New Yorker who is writing a biography of Fidel Castro, called the day’s events “a way of restoring some kind of essential revolutionary presence or muscle in the room after the star-struck effect of Obama.”
The Cuban government appears to be engaging in “overcompensation for being bowled over a little bit by Obama’s unexpectedly elegant and charismatic performance in Havana,” said Anderson, who covered the visit. “Cubans who aren’t prepared for the full extent of what he was saying, it took them aback.”

I posted mi Cubana's story -- following the passing of my father-in-law -- with the title of the phrase he and his wife (and I presume many other Cuban expatriates) often used to describe Fidel: "bicho malo nunca muere".  There's going to be a yuuuge party at our favorite Cuban restaurant on the evening of his demise, and I won't miss it for all the tea in China.

Not sure where we will celebrate on the day Dick Cheney finally dies, but that might be just as big a deal.  Maybe both guys are drinking the same blood of Camp Fire Girls, who knows.

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