(original title: Life after Castro no longer taboo topic for Cubans)
Mike Blanchfield, Canwest News Service
The ailing Fidel Castro may never formally lead Cuba again, but he will continue to wield influence, even after his death, Havana’s man in Canada says.
Cuba’s ambassador to Canada, Ernesto Senti Darias, was drawn yesterday into a discussion about a normally taboo topic among Cuban diplomats: life after Castro, whose successor is to be named in March by a council of state. For the first time in a public forum, Senti Darias speculated on what role the 81-year-old leader might play in the twilight of his 49 years of ruling the Caribbean island nation.
“Some day he won’t be there, physically, but his heritage and his contribution to our nation is so big that with great pride we can say that he will stay forever. Why? Because he has been not only our leader, he has been one of us,” Senti Darias told a gathering of students and foreign diplomats at the Cuban Embassy.
“He is consulted about many things, maybe the main ones. The result for our nation for our people, for the revolution is that we have a stable country; that we are in a capacity to go ahead.”
Senti Darias’s assessment was unprecedented because he had until yesterday consistently refused in his more than three years posted to Canada to be drawn into any public discussion of a Cuba without Castro.