A morally disorienting gathering in Havana.
By Otto J. Reich
This time the rumors are real: Castro is dying of stomach cancer. He may have already died, even before the funeral preparations were finished, so the news is not out. Confirmation of the terminal illness comes from the usual sources but in a non-conventional manner. The Cuban government has been summoning to Havana representatives of the major international media to negotiate the best seats, camera angles, and interviews with the despot’s political survivors, and to inform them of the ground rules for coverage of the state funeral.
The foreign media are being told that the model for Castro’s funeral is that of Pope John Paul II a year ago. The Cubans actually believe — or pretend — that the death of a tyrant deserves the same attention as that of the world’s great men of peace.
This is one of Castro’s lasting legacies to his countrymen: moral disorientation. The Cuban ruling class has been so isolated from reality for so long by fear and Castro’s airtight press control that they equate the burial of a mass murderer with that of a prince of the Church. No doubt there will be “dignitaries” at the funeral: fellow revolutionary leaders from the last repressive regimes on Earth: Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Sudan, for example; and leaders of failed states like Zimbabwe and Bolivia; and representatives of the world’s resentful Left and the Hollywood Left (pardon the redundancy).
Read every word.
Update More on moral disorientation at Havana Split, which interviews Humberto Fontova:
Now Cuba’s got crackdowns against corruption — everything from beer underpouring at the bars to gasoline-pump theft — in a supposed bid for “reform.”
Problem is, it’s not reform. There’s no sudden change of government heart about ending the top-to-bottom corruption among Castro’s successors. Nor is it a sign that Raul now has a free hand to “liberalize” now that his older brother isn’t around to stop him.
It’s a sign of something else — the often-misunderstood evidence of an internal power struggle at the top, explained Cuban writer Humberto Fontova, in a talk with IBD.
Fontova said Cuba has seen these crackdowns since at least 1965, with one notable wave in 1989, around the time the Soviet Union collapsed and Cuba lost its support from the USSR.
“A Cuban’s got to know which party official is in favor within the regime. If your patron has fallen out of favor, it will be held against you.” And you’re likely to go down in a corruption crackdown.