By Martin Edwin Andersen | [url=http://www.InsightMag.com]http://www.InsightMag.com[/url]
Aging Cuban strongman Fidel Castro, 76, suffered another fainting spell May 25 as he exited an inauguration event in Buenos Aires for the new Argentine president, Nestor Kirchner, say eyewitnesses at the event. A National Security Council source confirms having seen the report.
Castro was talking to an Argentine protocol officer and an unidentified woman when one of his bodyguards rushed toward him, pushing the woman to the floor, and grabbed the Cuban leader by the arm as he began to fall to the ground, sources tell Insight. Another bodyguard reportedly grabbed Castro by the other arm, while the Argentine diplomat helped sustain the Cuban president by holding on to the back of his belt. The trio then carried the failing Castro, who had a similar fainting spell in June 2001, to the car.
Information about Castro’s fainting spell came as eyebrows were being raised in Washington over statements by Kirchner’s foreign minister, former left-wing activist Rafael Bielsa, in which he skirted questions about recent human-rights violations in the Caribbean nation. “I wouldn’t dare to say, ‘In Cuba, human rights are violated,’” Bielsa told the Spanish newspaper ABC, adding that he did not have “the job nor the moral authority to breezily say that.”
In recent months, the Castro regime has imprisoned some 75 pro-democracy activists for terms of six to 28 years in what observers call the most severe crackdown on the island in recent years. In the interview, the new Argentine foreign minister appeared to suggest that Cuban authorities had acted properly in the crackdown, saying: “If I look at the formalities, there was a trial, there was an allegation, a defense lawyer and a prosecutor. All the steps were carried out.”
Martin Edwin Andersen is a contributing writer for Insight.