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Posted December 28, 2005 by mattlawrence in Castro's Cuba

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BY ANA MENENDEZ | Miami Herald

Poor Fidel. It’s not easy being a dictator these days, not when your sworn enemy has stolen your playbook and recast it as democracy. How sad it must be to come up with all these creative governing principles—listening in on private phone calls, reading personal mail, secretly video-taping protestors—only to live long enough to see a third-rate intelligence like George W. Bush adopt them all as his own. It’s enough to drive anyone nuts.

In a few days, Fidel will celebrate an important personal anniversary, and the whole world will look on in awe. Whatever your political leanings, you have to bow before the man who, in just 47 short years, went from savior to tyrant to crazy uncle.

‘‘What’s this? Are you becoming a pubic hair?’’ Fidel sneered at an aide to Brazilian President Lula da Silva.

‘‘What did I fall into, you faggot?’’ he screamed in Spanish at a pair of jokester Miami radio deejays.

Jeb Bush is ‘‘fat’‘; Condoleezza Rice is ‘‘mad.’’ Even Fidel’s inner circle must be wondering if he’s become refreshingly candid or just seriously unmoored.

THE FALL

In Miami, we’ve become so fixated on the hated Unmentionable One that we’re unable to appreciate all the nuance in the man. Neutral observers, on the other hand, can see that Fidel has quite effectively steered Cuba right into the Hallucinogenic Age.

Maybe it started with the fall. When Fidel picked himself off that stage back in October 2004, he immediately proclaimed: ‘’`Estoy entero,’’ a curious statement that, like many in Cuban Spanish, can have more than one meaning. We can’t be sure if Fidel meant: ‘‘I’m in one piece’’ or ‘‘I’m unbearably sexy.’’ Either way, it was an odd confession for a man who, by all outward appearances, is neither.

Things deteriorated from there. Who can forget the cooking show incident? There was Fidel on national television talking starch. Is rice A faster and tastier than rice B? Who cares? No one would dare tell him.

Then there are the speeches. The best of Fidel’s performances have always carried an obvious Dadaist influence. But lately, his harangues have catapulted him and his increasingly alarmed listeners right into another dimension. Last month, he gave a speech at the University of Havana that might have been entitled: “The Apocalypse According To Me.’‘

‘‘so, a question remains in my mind,’’ he said at the beginning of a lecture that touched on philosophy, theology and the origin and prospect of the species. “A question that maybe you, or your professors, or hundreds of thousands of you have also asked yourselves, and that is if there is any possibility that this species can emigrate to another solar system.’‘

Hey, why not?

EMPTY PROMISE

‘‘History will absolve me,’’ Fidel once famously said. The promise was very much in keeping with the Cuban love of melodrama. But it was unfair to history, which in its advanced age now finds itself with so many to absolve and so little time.

Maybe he meant hilarity would absolve him. Nothing like humor to brighten the dank gulag of the mind.

Not everyone buys the idea that Fidel is losing his sanity. Don’t think of it, one prominent exile warned me. It’s just another trick in his arsenal. This is a theory that has wide currency in conspiracy-soaked Miami, the idea that Fidel is not crazy, only faking.

Bonkers? Or just pretending? I subscribe to neither theory. I’ll be the first to admit that I have certain unconventional views. But if you ask me, Fidel, approaching the 50th anniversary of our collective solitude, has decided to let his good friend Gabriel Garcia Marquez write the end of his story. No bullet will do him in. No ordinary mortal’s death awaits him. No, Fidel’s tragic reign will end on a droll note, with the old man lifting up into the air in a great whirlwind as he screams: “What did I fall into? Que ca, en que, hijo de p—-? En que ca, mari—-?’‘

A beautiful remedy, even if it does fall just short of the one dreamed up for the good Col. Aureliano Buendia

  1. Follow up post #1 added on December 29, 2005 by jesusp with 246 total posts

    Very clever, best line “so many to absolve and so little time” my personal belief is that History will absolve him for his actions leading to Jan. 1st, 1959, it was a relatively simple strugle and he had the guts to carry it out. Those who endeavor in writing the history of Cuba from that point on will have a hard time absolving or condemming his conduct of Cuban affairs, however, one thing is for sure, were it not for his audacity in responding to U.S. policy, the revolution would not be celebrating its 47th anniversary. Wether that is good or bad, it remains a matter of personal belief.


  2. Follow up post #2 added on January 09, 2006 by Lala_Linda

    For a website that boasts about providing ‘real’ information to Americans by Americans, this article is a gross embarrassment.  Clearly Castro doesnt need to talk about you guys making an ar*e of yourselves, you manage to do a pretty good job of it yourself.


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