3:20PM Nothing on Radio Habana. 3:15PM Nothing on Granma. I’ll be live-blogging the rumors until 6PM, when supposedly “an official announcement” will be made. 3PM: Nothing in the cable channels. 2:45PM The foreign minister tweeted,
El Comandante en Chefe Fidel Castro falleció hoy. Una Nota oficiál del Comité Central sera difundida en proximas horas.
Castro was last seen in public in March, during the visit to Cuba of Pope Benedict XVI. Since June, he has not written his opinion columns, called “Reflections.” He did not send any message or congratulation to Chávez for his recent election victory.
Which means that the regime forgot to get Fidel’s amanuenses on the job.
Fidel’s physical condition is almost besides the point; as I’ve been saying for years, what’s important is what the Communist regime decides to leak out.
Let me repeat some things I have said before to show that no contradiction exists between Castro being a Communist, and Castro dealing with post-WWII Nazis. The Castro brothers inherited a virulent strain of anti-Americanism and anti-capitalism common among certain educated elites in Latin America. A legacy of Spain and old-time Spanish Catholicism, it started as hatred and resentment for upstart Protestant England, and in Latin America morphed into hatred and resentment for upstart “Protestant” USA.
The brothers got a double dose of the virus. Their father was a Spanish-born veteran of the War of 1898 who stayed on in Cuba. We can imagine family conversations when the topic turned to the USA. This household environment combined with that era’s Spanish Jesuit schooling would have turned just about anybody anti-American. As I have noted before, Communism in Latin America is a natural complement to a pre-existing intellectual and emotional strain of anti-Americanism, anti-Protestantism, and anti-capitalism. Once the brothers assumed power, it is not at all surprising that they would throw in with the Soviets; Raul was in all likelihood a KGB informant since the early 1950s.
There can be no doubt that had Nazi Germany been around in the 1950s as the world’s preeminent anti-capitalist, anti-democracy, and anti-USA power, Fidel, Raul, and the racist gangster Che (Note: read what he had to say about Mexicans) would have hitched their wagons to the Hitler train.
There is no real conflict between Communism and Nazism except, of course, of which one takes power. They are both phenomena of the left; both believe in the state over the individual; in the state-control of the economy; and in crushing religion and other independent sources of power and potential rivalry to the state. They do not believe in rule of law, tolerance of diversity, and protection of dissent. The biggest difference is that the Communists were much more successful at bamboozling the “educated elites” and used much smoother words to try to disguise their evil natures. The Nazis were always too bombastic, “in your face,” and made little effort to hide their true aims. All that stylistic and cosmetic nonsense aside, Fidel, Raul, Che, Kim-il Sung, Stalin, etc, would have been perfectly happy to be Nazis and to espouse their anti-capitalist, anti-democracy, anti-religion, and anti-individual line. There should be nothing surprising in the Castros’ efforts to reach out to Nazis to help carry on their mad war against the Cuban people and the United States.
By Monday afternoon there was still no official word from Havana. But Mr. Bocaranda stuck with his story. He tweeted: “I reiterate that we will have news from Cuba in the next few days. The delay is not my fault. I am sorry.”
Bocaranda is taking a huge risk by saying this, because he’s laying his credibility on the line, while the news has very little to do with actual fact but a lot to do with a Communist regime’s hold on power.
Cuba is a totalitarian state where the government has a stranglehold on information.
Five years ago, I wrote in my then-Pajamas Media (now PJMedia), article,
Throughout the past year the world has been treated to a series of videos and photos showing the ailing Castro wearing a jogging suit while entertaining visiting dignitaries, most prominently his disciple Hugo Chavez. Chavez, who is providing Cuba 80,000 barrels of oil daily, always returns from these trips exulting about how well Fidel is recovering.
After each of these, the Cuban government’s newspaper, Granma, repeats the same carefully crafted message the Cuban people have been hearing for nearly fifty years: to continue the struggle, to strive for the impossible. The US is “a decaying empire that threatens us all”. It also reminds Cubans that they too, should endure their sorrows – sorrows inflicted by Castro’s own dictatorship – without complaint. The bottom line of the message is, Nothing is ever going to change.
But the reality is that things will change, and will change rapidly immediately following the news of the death. Everything, from large-scale civil upheaval from a people long-oppressed by a cruel government, to a large number of exiled Cubans seeking to reunite with their relatives by bringing them to the USA, to a total collapse of Cuban society, can not be dismissed as a possibility.
The existing Cuban power structure will collapse.
When Castro dies, will the Cuban government release the information at the time of the death? That is very unlikely. Even with all the behind-the-scenes preparations that may or may not have taken place over the past twelve months, there will be a delay because those in power will try to hold on to power for as long as they possibly can.
So the question is, for how long will the news of Castro’s death be delayed?
Papers released this week by the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) – the German foreign intelligence agency – show information gathered by German operatives 50 years ago during the tense days of the Cuban missile crisis.
They reveal that Castro personally approved a plan to hire former Nazi officers to instruct the Cuban revolutionary army, offering them wages that were four times the average salary in Germany at the time and the chance to start a new life in Havana.
They papers, dating from October 1962, show that four former officers from the elite Nazi death squads had been invited to the Cuban capital, although subsequent reports could only confirm that two had arrived.
It also showed how the Castro regime negotiated with two traffickers linked with Germany’s far Right to purchase Belgian made pistols to arm the Cuban forces.
The conclusion drawn by German secret service officials was that the Cuban regime wanted to free itself from total dependence on Soviet backed training and supplies.
First off, Castro’s troops are hapless draftees who probably detest the regime as much as anyone in Miami. They have no stake in its wars. But mainly, it’s the rampant megalomania and paranoia of their commander in chief that accounts for the Cuban military’s astounding stupidities and failures.
Communist armies in general and Castroite armies in particular promote officers not on battlefield merit but strictly on political reliability, which is to say on lackeyism, cowardice and donkeyheadedness.
Plus, Fidel needed Soviet money for all this grandstanding, just as he now needs Hugo’s oil.
Assassination operations had always been Fidel’s personal bailiwick. None could be conducted that he did not authorize and help plan. The means for carrying out this most sinister of secret Cuban capabilities were always decentralized and rigidly compartmentalized. It was not scruples that concerned Fidel but the need for airtight deniability.
The Cubans used DGI-controlled illegals, surrogates of other nationalities, as executioners. They carried out some of the most sensitive missions overseas, especially against high-visibility, well-protected targets. Death squads drawn from Latin American terrorist and revolutionary groups beholden to Cuba could be relied on, deniability compounded by degrees of separation. Carefully screened, the foreign assassins were trained at secret Cuban bases, learning to kill in gangland-style hits, elaborately orchestrated paramilitary operations, commando strikes and sly poisonings.
The book is coming out on Tuesday, available on Kindle, and can be pre-ordered through Amazon.
Yeah, yeah, now the Pope’s given another Mass in Havana’s Revolution Square, right under the Che monument (Che monument soon to get a Galway branch, like a bank). Benedict gave lip service to hope and change.
The meeting followed Benedict’s open-air Mass in the same public square where a younger, healthier Castro once delivered official speeches that lasted for hours and frequently railed against the United States.
Here’s a photo,
For Christ’s sake.
Benedict turned a deaf ear to the people clamoring for freedom – in the video above you can hear the chant of “libertad, libertad” (freedom, freedom).
The alleged meeting, which Bocaranda first reported was in the works on March 25, was arranged by Venezuelan diplomats who used to work at the South American nation’s mission to the Vatican, the journalist said. All participants agreed the brief meeting would be without media coverage, Bocaranda said.
Plenty of time to meet the Communists, no time for anyone else.
Years ago, I said that I won’t believe any such rumors until and unless the Communist regime carts out the body and calls the CSI: Miami crew for a full forensic examination, along with corroboration from the FBI, Interpol and Europol that the SOB is actually dead.
Free prices, property rights and incentives for innovation would signal real change. But those things would also put the regime’s grip at risk. So instead it is trying to formalize and tax black market transactions to create jobs for state workers and raise revenues. The idea that this is capitalism would be funny too, were it not so sad.
And tragic, for the Cubans.
There will be no Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean this week.
Mr. Chavez said he underwent a rigorous screening in Cuba on July 17 that did “not detect the presence of malignant cells in any part of my body” but he still submitted to chemotherapy as a precaution.
“The risk exists and because of that chemotherapy … was applied on me all of this week in various sessions,” Mr. Chavez said. It was “difficult, but this body of mine … withstood,” he added.
And even when Fidel said Hugo’s cancer-free, Hugo’s going ahead with another round of chemo “as a precaution”, because, ah, well, just because.
Mr. Chavez discussed his recent weight loss and said that he was now at his “ideal weight” of 86 kilograms. The president has admitted that he used to be “too fat,” weighing more than 100 kilograms before going into treatment last month.
Losing over 30 lbs in a few weeks is just his way of getting to his “ideal weight”. A few more pounds and he’ll be ready for the runway.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he’ll return to Cuba today to receive chemotherapy, ending rumors he was considering Brazil as an alternative venue for cancer treatment.
“I’m going to begin the second stage of this slow and complex process of recuperation,” Chavez, 56, said yesterday on state television. “The second stage will start with chemotherapy that has already been planned in scientific detail.”
He should be on his way right now,
Congress voted unanimously today to approve Chavez’s plan to depart for Cuba at 3:30 pm New York time.
That’s the Venezuelan Congress, who had to approve Chavez’s remaining in power while being abroad for extended periods of time.
“In Cuba, he has the security that nobody will ever know exactly what he has,” said the former official, who added said that he had been told by a senior Spanish diplomat that two Spanish doctors will be attending Mr. Chávez in Havana.
Pajamas Media posts the video of the announcement, where he purportedly quotes Nietzsche, adding also that he had a “baseball-size tumor” operated on,
Considering that the announcement from Brazil had to have been in the works for a while, and that Paraguayan president Fernando Lugo has traveled to Brazil for his own cancer treatment, Fidel may be the one calling the shots (emphasis added),
It is unclear what tipped the decision. From a technical point of view Chavez would be better off in Brazil, Venezuela or a country like Canada, the quality and size of cancer treatments in these three countries is considered to be much more advanced than that of Cuba, even if in Cuba, he could be taken care off by doctors of other nationalities. It is likely that in the end ideology tipped the decision Cuba’s way. I am sure that Fidel Castro and Chavez’ brother Adan put a lot of pressure on the Cuban choice. An isolated Chavez in Havana is much more under control than one in Sao Paulo in a private hospital. Those that have the most to lose, will now control the day to day life of the Venezuelan President and, indirectly, over the country.
Analysts said Mr. Chávez may have decided to go to Cuba for treatment for political reasons more than medical ones. Seeking medical treatment at a private hospital in São Paulo could offend Mr. Chávez’s Cuban allies, Fidel and Raúl Castro, who have long touted their hospitals as a socialist success story.
While Mr. Chávez often lauds Cuban doctors, switching from Cuban to Brazilian care would have suggested the Cubans aren’t capable of world-class care.
Chavez is touting Cuba’s medical reputation at his own country’s expense,
Still, the fact that Mr. Chávez is leaving Venezuela to continue his treatment suggests that hospitals in Venezuela weren’t considered a serious option. That, analysts said, underscores the turmoil in both the public and private medical sectors during the Chávez years—and a deep animosity between Mr. Chávez and the country’s highly educated doctors.
A parallel network in Venezuela of free primary-care clinics, called Barrio Adentro, staffed by Cuban doctors, has provided quicker access to millions of poor. At the same time, it has pulled much-needed resources from the mainstream hospital system, says José Félix Oletta, a Venezuelan health minister under a previous administration.
Deteriorating working conditions coupled with notoriously low pay has driven Venezuelan doctors to jobs overseas, he said. “Venezuela medical professionals who are well-qualified are receiving very little money compared to other countries,” he added.
Despite the brain drain, top Venezuelan doctors say Mr. Chávez would get excellent treatment in Venezuela for all but the rarest sort of tumors. Although Mr. Chávez has attacked private doctors during his term in office, calling them mercenaries, his animosity toward them wouldn’t affect his treatment, doctors insist. “We are physicians,” said one prominent doctor.
While you can rest assured that the Castros will ensure that their pupil gets the best medical care Venezuelan oil money can provide, it would be ironic that Chavez’s undoing comes as a consequence of this decision.