What’s behind Fidel’s mysterious musings?
Fidel Castro’s latest opinion pieces — which read more like tweets than the lengthy reflexiones Cubans have grown used to reading — have left observers in Havana, Miami and Washington all scratching their heads.
“I respect all religions, though I don’t believe in them,” he wrote June 19. “Human beings, from the dumbest to the wisest, search for an explanation for their existence. Science constantly searches for the laws that guide the universe. At this time, it is in an expansion started about 13,700 million years ago.”
In a 35-word post published the same day, he wrote: “Yogis can do things with the human body that escape our imagination. They are there, before our eyes, on images that arrive instantly from enormous distances through Pasaje a lo Desconocido.”
Other Twitter-like posts attack late Chinese leader Deng Xao-ping, urge the cultivation of moringa and mulberry trees, and suggest that Alberto Juantorena should preside over Cuba’s Olympic Committee.
Is Fidel Castro laughing himself silly as he watches readers of his recent Haiku-like commentaries try to make sense of them?” asked the Miami Herald’s Juan O. Tamayo. “Is he sending serious but thinly veiled messages? Or is he just gaga?”
Some claim they don’t understand a word of what he is writing or why; they feel baffled, while others crack jokes at Fidel’s expenses.
A number of Miami-based Cuba experts say this proves their argument that Fidel Castro is practically finished, incapable of writing his usual lengthy reflexiones. They say he’s delirious, completely incoherent or suffering from dementia.
“Like a mediocre starlet of cheap and superficial shows, he needs to feel like he’s in the center of the spotlight,” Jamie Suchlicki, head of the University of Miami’s In-stitute of Cuban-American Studies, told the Herald. “Evidently, he does not feel coherent enough to write longer pieces.”
Indeed, the 85-year-old Fidel is very old and his physical limitations are obvious. Yet his mind is still sharp.
As usual, most of these Miami experts are dead wrong. Their “codebreakers” are completely lost. A review of these recent reflexiones and short messages in the real context of Cuban politics unveils the real meaning behind Fidel’s cryptic words.
Each of these messages are meant as a warning. Cuba’s former maximum leader has temporarily suspended his long tirades on all-encompassing agendas like climate change and the threat of nuclear war.
These newest messages are like darts aimed at the heart of issues crucial to Cuba’s domestic and foreign policy.
Why, for example, whack Deng Xao-Ping now? Fidel profoundly dislikes current comparisons between Cuba and China, and does not see any similarities between the two countries.
Subsequently, efforts by Cuban and foreign observers to draw such parallels are unacceptable. It was Fidel himself who publicly attacked Deng by name after the Chinese invasion of Vietnam.
Why make public his choice of Juanto-rena? It’s Fidel’s golden opportunity to fight back the overwhelming consensus in Cuba — including within his own family — on how to deal with professional sports.
And his references to religion and science follow Fidel’s meeting with Pope Benedict XVI and the rise of the Cuban Catholic Church’s political stature that Raúl and other officials have carefully cultivated; a reminder that science undermines the very foundations of religious belief.
Less clear is why Fidel would push for the cultivation of moringa and mulberry trees at this time. He’s been doing that privately for the last three years, and really believes that it’s for Cuba’s benefit. It’s exactly what he did in the early ‘60s with the gandul (a typical Spanish bean) and other lifesaving crops that ended as major failures.
The connection between yogis and Pasaje a lo Desconocido is more than obvious. The yogis are the twists and turns of Cuba’s new capitalism, and Pasaje is the ultimate outcome of formers leading to a socialist market economy — a notion Fidel utterly rejects.
Ultimately, what Fidel says is more important than how he says it. Anti-embargo activist Sarah Stephens, writing in the Huffington Post, notes that Washington has been tracking what Fidel thinks and says since 1947.
“After 65 years, if we’re still worrying about how Fidel Castro is expressing himself,” suggested Stephens, director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas, “doesn’t the policy of not talking to the current president of Cuba about matters that actually concern us merit re-examination?”
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