June 9th, 2009
Cuban leader Fidel Castro doesn’t have all that much to say these days about the U.S., but he did have some reflections to make on Obama’s now famous speech in Cairo. On the one hand, he admits that Obama isn’t the babbling idiot that former president George W. Bush was with regard to speechmaking, but when it comes to the content of said speech, he differs in opinion. In his weekly column “Reflexiones”, Castro says:
“If you take into account how long the speech was, without even using notes, the number of pauses isn’t important if compared to his predecessor (George Bush), who made mistakes at every paragraph. He has a great ability to communicate. However, the policies that the U.S. has followed for the past 7 decades is “in contradiction” with his words, since it was a history of “interventions” and “wars”, said Castro.
He expressed that although Obama started his speech saying that no nation has the right to impose its system or its form of governance on any other, he quickly contradicted himself “with a declaration of faith that makes the United States the supreme judge of democratic values and human rights.”
This doesn’t sound familiar to me. Does anyone know statement Castro is referring to here?
The fact is Castro does have a point. America has a way of wandering into countries or regions and telling people how to run their societies when the U.S. has a history of not following its own rhetoric…to say the very least.
Via / La Voz de Houston
January 23rd, 2009
Absent Cuban president Fidel Castro, ever wiling to say what’s on his mind in his weekly essays, said what might be the first kind words ever uttered about a U.S. president. But he didn’t write down his first impressions of Barack Obama; instead he leaked them to Argentine president Cristina Kirchner at a meeting between the two yesterday. You might want to sit down before you read on because this is pretty incredible:
Mrs Fernandez said: “Fidel believes in Obama. He told me he had followed the inauguration of Barack Obama very closely, that he had watched the inauguration on television all day.
“He had a very good perception of President Obama.”
The Argentine premier said Mr Castro called Mr Obama “a man who seems absolutely sincere, who believes strongly in his ideas and who hopefully can carry them out”.
June 24th, 2008
Fidel Castro, far from being happy about the European Union’s decision to lift sanctions and resume diplomatic relations with the island, is calling the move “hypocritical” given the harsh new European policy on immigration.
In the statement Castro alluded to his age and delicate health situation: “At my age and in my state, I don’t know how much time I have to live, since from here on I want to express my repulsion towards the enormous hypocrisy reflected in such a decision.”
Via / El Nuevo Herald
January 17th, 2008
In spite of Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula’s claims yesterday that Fidel Castro is as spry as a college student — and El Comandante‘s diva-style pose for Lula’s camera — the story coming out of the horse’s mouth is quite different. Fidel himself says he’s not in the best of health:
“I don’t enjoy the physical ability necessary to speak directly to the residents of the town which is supporting me in next Sunday’s elections. I do what I can: I write.”
And the election’s that Castro speaks of are crucial to the continuation of his role as President of Cuba:
Voters have the job of ratifying the 641 members of the National Legislature, hand-picked by the Cuban Communist party, with Mr. Castro once again representing the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba. He has to do this in order to continue playing a senior role in government.
Whether or not he wants to is another story. Late last month, Fidel wrote a letter to be read on Cuban television which stated that he would “not cling to power”. To me, it sounds like Fidel is too tired to fight the waves of change any longer.
What do you think? Is Fidel ready to step aside?
Via / El País and National Post
January 16th, 2008
Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is debunking rumors that Fidel Castro’s political career is through. After meeting with him in Havana yesterday, the president was quoted as saying that he thinks that Fidel is “ready to go back” to his normal “political role” in Cuba. Contrary to rumors that Castro is on his last legs, Lula says that Castro is “incredibly lucid” and has “impeccable health”.
The above photo from Spain’s El País shows Lula playing photographer, taking a picture of his friend Fidel.
Via / El País
November 23rd, 2007
We’ve told you about love notes sent between Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro in the past, but what about not-so-nice letters? The Cuban government is denying that in 2005, Fidel wrote a letter to Chavez “inciting him to shoot” those who oppose him. The letter had some other interesting things to say, like the following line allegedly penned by Castro:
“You know Hugo, that to end Yankee imperialism we have to do things well; the Arabs are already ready, Lula is working in Brazil and you have encouraged the FARC…”
The Cuban ambassador in Bolivia denies that the letter was written by Castro and said “Any moderately intelligent person would read the first two lines of that letter and realize that Fidel Castro didn’t write it. That’s why I must say that it’s a clumsy and vile manipulation to try to pass off a letter as written by Fidel.”
Via / Tiempos del Mundo
September 25th, 2007
For all of who believe that Hugo Chavez is modeling himself after Fidel Castro, here’s some proof for you: he’s just as long-winded. Last Sunday, on his weekly radio and television address “Alo Presidente“, Chavez spoke for an unprecedented 8 hours straight.
According to Spain’s EFE Agency via 20 Minutos, who apparently had the stomach to sit through it all, Chavez recited poetry by Pablo Neruda, sang a couple of songs, defended his friend Irani president Mahmud Ahmadineyad and spoke about his upcoming visit to France, among other things.
Sorry, Huguito, but you shut down a television station and restrict the airing of telenovelas to give your people this?
As far as modeling himself after Fidel, I think he’s actually beat the Cuban leader’s record — which was 7 hours — after which he collapsed.
Via / 20 Minutos
August 20th, 2007
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is denying reports again circulating on the Internet that Fidel Castro is either dead or dying. Chavez said on his weekly radio show yesterday that Fidel is “a fighter” and is “writing, and producing.”
“On the Internet there are rumors that Fidel is dead or that is he is intubated and they are just waiting for the moment when that happens. Fidel is producing, and I know, writing. I talked to him on his birthday and I sent him a portrait of Bolivar as a gift,” he said.
There you have it. If Fidel’s special friend says it, it’s got to be true. I for one am happy to hear that Fidel is producing and writing again, and I can’t wait to hear the def beats he lays down on his new tracks.
Via / Reuters and El Universal (Venezuela)
July 26th, 2007
In spite of his prolific writing and recent reports that he’s on the mend, Cuban president Fidel Castro once again missed one of his nation’s most important events. Revelers at the celebration commemorating the July 26th assault on the Moncada barracks in 1953 was instead led by the other Castro, brother Raul.
The expectations of a public reappearance by the Cuban leader had ostensibly lessened the night before, when press officially announced that it would be Raul Castro who would lead give the keynote speech for event, which is the island’s main revolutionary event.
Venezuela’s El Universal reports that it was precisely one year before when Fidel made his last public appearance at the very same event, and had surgery the next day.
Via / El Universal
July 18th, 2007
Cuban president Fidel Castro is accusing rich countries like the U.S. of “stealing brains”. No, it’s not Invasion of the Body Snatchers; he’s referring to the mass exodus of intellectuals from Latin America and Africa to the U.S. and Europe — a brain drain, as it were. Fidel charges:
In the last 40 years, more than 1.2 million professionals from Latin America and the Caribbean have emigrated to the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. An average of 70 scientists a day has emigrated from Latin America in the course of 40 years.
Of the 150 million people around the world involved in science and technology activities, 90 percent is concentrated in the seven most industrialized nations.