In today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern:
While rumors abound as to whether Castro is in a coma (an old rumor if there ever was one), here is this from AP: Castro says he probably won’t be around in 4 years
Fidel Castro said Thursday he doubts he’ll make it to the end of Barack Obama’s four-year term and instructed Cuban officials to start making their decisions without taking him into account.
There are those who doubt wheter the made it to the end of George W. Bush’s eight-year term, but I digress. The statement from Castro came in a Granma article,
Thursday’s essay came out on a government Web site shortly before the nightly news. Newscasters did not mention it, instead reading a column Castro had released on Wednesday.
The bulk of Thursday’s column was devoted to praising Obama, the 11th U.S. president since the Cuban revolution, in part for his decision to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay. Castro recalled his thoughts Tuesday as he watched Obama assume the “leadership of the empire.”
“The intelligent and noble face of the first black president of the United States … had transformed itself under the inspiration of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King into a living symbol of the American dream,” he wrote.
Castro praised Obama as honest, writing: “No one could doubt the sincerity of his words when he affirms that he will convert his country into a model of freedom, respect for human rights in the world and the independence of other nations.”
However, Castro suggested Obama would succumb to threats greater than his own qualities: “What will he do soon, when the immense power that he has taken in his hands is absolutely useless to overcome the unsolvable, antagonistic contradictions of the (American) system?”
Obama has said he will not end the U.S. embargo on Cuba without democratic reforms on the island, but will ease limits on Cuban-Americans’ visits there and on the money they send home to relatives. He has also offered to negotiate personally with Raul Castro.
The column was Castro’s second in as many days. Before that, Castro hadn’t been heard from in more than a month, fueling rumors that he had suffered a stroke or lapsed into a coma. Those rumors were dispelled on Wednesday when Argentine President Cristina Fernandez met with him, the first foreign leader known to have done so since Nov. 28.
Referring to Gitmo,
“We demand that not only this prison but also this base should be closed and the territory it occupies should be returned to its legal owner — the Cuban people,”
which we’ve heard lots of times already from the “not to be around in 4 years” dictator.
After all, why should anyone doubt that Castro’s alive? Didn’t Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez meet with Castro just three days ago? Yes, she did.
Didn’t she have her picture taken with him? Oh yes, she did:
According to Noticias 24 Cuban vicechancellor Alejandro González Galeano made a special trip to Caracas (where Fernandez was visiting Chávez) to hand-deliver the photos.
I guess the Cubans couldn’t email them.
Interestingly, Fidel didn’t meet with Panama’s Martín Torrijos and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa when they visited Cuba recently. Raúl Castro insists that Fidel is not dead yet
“Now you know that Fidel is fine,” he said, adding that his brother spends days “exercising, thinking and reading a lot, advising me, helping me.”
“You think if he were gravely ill that I’d be smiling here?” Castro told reporters. “Soon I’m going to take a trip to Europe. You think I would leave here if Fidel were really in grave condition?”
OF COURSE NOT!
Castro urged Cuban government leaders to continue his work and not change direction in the case of [his] grave illness or death. By the way, Castro refers to Obama as the “eleventh US president”, meaning the eleventh president since the Castro took power.
After her “emotional” meeting with Castro, Fernandez went on to a 24-hr visit to Venezuela (her second visit), where she and Chávez pledged to meet every three months to review their bilateral agenda and signed a dozen letters of agreement on energy and agriculture. The Argentinian government-owned company Enarsa might be involved in developing mature oil fields in eastern Venezuela (how effective would that be remains to be seen).
Even Chávez was saying that
t is unlikely that ailing former Cuban leader Fidel Castro will ever appear in public again.
“That Fidel in his uniform who walked the streets and towns late at night, hugging the people, won’t return,” Chavez said during his Sunday television and radio program. “That will remain in memories.”
Without a hint of irony, Chávez stated,
“Fidel will live forever, beyond the physical life,”
The nightmare lives on, indeed. (h/t Babalu)
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