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Posted April 21, 2007 by publisher in Castro's Cuba

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By Anthony Boadle | Reuters

Convalescing Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who has not appeared in public for almost nine months, met with a high-ranking Chinese Communist Party official for an hour on Friday, Cuban state media said.

Pictures published on Saturday by Cuban newspapers showed a recovering Castro meeting with Wu Guanzheng, a member of the Standing Committee of China’s Communist Party Politburo.

One photograph published in Cuba’s Communist Party newspaper Granma showed the 80-year-old Cuban leader, who wore a track suit, sitting next to Wu as a young Chinese interpreter takes notes. Another shows them shaking hands.

The meeting with the highest-ranking Chinese official to visit Cuba in more than a year was the latest sign that Castro, who relinquished power temporarily to his brother in July after emergency stomach surgery, is resuming some government duties.

Cuban leader Fidel Castro (R) meets Wu Guanzheng (L), a member of the Standing Committee of China’s Communist Party Politburo in Havana April 20, 2007. REUTERS/Juventud Rebelde/Handout

Wu handed Castro a letter from Chinese President Hu Jintao that expressed the “excellent ties” that have been developed between the two nations, state television said in a Friday evening newscast.

Castro, who last appeared in public on July 26, has received foreign visitors in private, including several heads of state during the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement of developing countries in Havana in September.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on April 21, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Now I will admit that Reuters did not have “in sweat suit” in their title but I couldn’t help but to add it.

    I think it is VERY significant that PRESIDENT Fidel Castro takes a meeting with a high ranking foreign official in a sweat suit. He is just not that kind of guy so this picture speaks to me VERY loudly that Fidel is not returning to office any time soon, if ever.

    I don’t think any Chinese leaders are going to negotiate with a man in a sweat suit. It’s just not going to happen.

    So, I think leaders will go to see Fidel as a show of respect but pretty much the same as going to a visit a national landmark. It’s just something you have to do while your in the country but it doesn’t really change your trip at all.

    Sorry Fidel but that’s the way I see it. More importantly, that’s the way it appears. Plus the fact that you are still not out in public after nine months!

    One more thing…look at Fidel. He’s got that same old talk, talk, talk look on his face and then look at Wu’s face. He’s saying yes. yes. okay. sure. no problem. I agree. What ever you say Mr. President. Goodbye.

    Fidel is a national landmark. That’s it.

    You read it here first.

    Cuba consulting services

  2. Follow up post #2 added on April 21, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Interesting too that meeting only lasted an hour. What exactly can you accomplish in one hour? An update on discussions and negotiations. Maybe he had to come by just to get Fidel’s “approval” on what Mr. Guanzheng and Raul had already agreed upon. However, if this was a meeting to get Fidel’s approval then I think the news story would have made that very clear. This news story is fluff. Just a photo op and that’s it.

    Also interesting that Raul had a separate meeting with Mr. Guanzheng.

    Not exactly a show of unity between the Castro brothers is it?

    And if it is not a show of unity, why not?

    These questions need to be asked.

    This further strengthens my opinion that Fidel is a national landmark, a living historic figure, just someone who writes letters and has a short meeting with foreign leaders for a photo op.

    Fidel Castro is dead, politically.

    Show me a news story with Fidel addressing the Cuban people or the Cuban parliment on a Cuban policy speech and I will change my mind.

    Fidel Castro is Queen Elizabeth.

    Cuba consulting services

  3. Follow up post #3 added on April 23, 2007 by abh

    I hear what you’re saying, however I’m not sure I agree that this type of a meeting is such a bad sign for the ailing Cuban leader.  Of course it was a “photo op”.  As people like you have continually suggested since July 31, his days are numbered.  I must say that I believe his death has been rumored many times over the last 9 months, not to mention the last 55 years, and I believe you yourself have continually claimed that “if he doesn’t show up at” such and such next event (e.g. his birthday) than it’s a sure sign he’s done.  All I can say to that is that the proof is in the pudding.  He’s still around, and he still has some role in governing.  I too looked at the pictue quite carefully and I have to admit I was entertained.  The two Chinese officials (I guess maybe the other one is the translater) seem to have expressions that are a mix of awe, bewilderment, and respect that I often see on peoples’ faces when they’re around him.  He’s a one of a kind guy, a fact which I think everyone on both sides admits.  I personally have many very contradictory opinions on him, but I think one thing we all should have learned by this point is to never count him out.  I don’t think Queen Elizabeth ever met anyone in a track suit, by the way.

  4. Follow up post #4 added on April 23, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Funny. Queen Elizabeth in a track suit!

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who realized that it was odd to see PRESIDENT Fidel Castro meeting a foreign official during an official photo op session wearing a track suit.

    Maybe it’s his way of saying to them, don’t think of me as the old Fidel. I’m the new Fidel. The old man Fidel. The figurehead Fidel.

    Now that I write this, maybe this is sweat suit is Fidel speak for the new “I’m just an old man/figurehead” Fidel.

    Cuba consulting services

  5. Follow up post #5 added on April 23, 2007 by abh

    You may not be too far off.  I think it’s clear though that his health is progressing.  In the other articles I read about this meeting, the writers clearly indicated that he looked stronger and had gained weight in the last few weeks.  And I must say that if you think Fidel will ever be a “hands-off” leader, you could find a lot of Cubans, in the U.S. and their native country, who would smile and shake their heads.

  6. Follow up post #6 added on April 23, 2007 by Cuban American

    You know for all these claims that his health is progressing, its kind of hard to say that for sure until we hear him speak again.  Sure he has appeared in videos and photos but we have yet to hear him speak.  I have a strong feeling that his illness or old age has caused him some kind of pyschological damage, in other words they won’t let him speak on these videos or in public so that he doesn’t make a fool of himself.  The deciding day will be like I mentioned earlier July 26, that oh so important day for the Cuban Communist Party.  If he doesn’t speak in public on that day, I find it very hard to believe his health has progressed or that he will ever return to lead the government.

  7. Follow up post #7 added on April 25, 2007 by Don

    I certainly agree Castro’s attire is not fitting to meet international dignitaries, and by western dress codes is kind of shameful.

    So how much notice did Castro have, as that is all he had time to change into? We can read in all kinds of things and if people read in the wrong assumptions, which is to blame?

    Maybe red jump suits are popular in Cuba, made in China—-and that would score big points with the dignitary. Maybe all Castro’s suits do not fit any more, and at 900 pesos a month (his pay), he cannot afford a new suit.  However, if Castro wore a nice suit the USA press would hold that against him also saying look how rich the man is.

    It is a no win situation. However, in all honesty the pictures of Ex-president Clinton running on the beach with bare legs made me about vomit, a red jump suit would have been better.

    For man as Castro that the USA tied to assonate, and then the USA punished the Cuban people for 47 years and on going, I do not think that Castro cares what the USA thinks about him. Personally, I would like him to retire in whatever grace he can find. It is the Cuban nation that is important, wealth and prosperity, not any one person’s red jump suit.


  8. Follow up post #8 added on April 25, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Once again, useless comments.

    Cuba consulting services

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