HAVANA TIMES — The title of this post is from a song by Pablo Milanes. It’s hard to think there’s another more attuned to describe the last public appearance of Fidel Castro.
An old man, rambling, and barely able to stand was what appeared before the cameras on the National Television News. What was left in the past was that invincible commander who constantly oozed testosterone through his pores.
“Time, unstoppable, that which has passed, always leaves us an imprint,” goes a verse from that composition. This was never more true than on the February 3rd on the prime time news when they showed the former Cuban president exercising his right to vote in the recent elections.
More than the elections themselves, this most recent appearance of Fidel Castro in the public arena has been the latest news. They ended the interview with a stooped over old man who even needed help to drop his ballot in the urn, and this was followed by the telephones ringing in Cuba.
“Did you see it?”
“They did that to him out of hatred, otherwise they wouldn’t have showed him like that.”
“My God, he’s old. People can’t even understand him!
These and a number of other comments circulated from telephone to telephone last night. The more fearful individuals waited for the morning to say similar things to their neighbors face to face in the breadline, or to their co-workers on the job or riding on the bus.
Pity and nothing else is what today inspires this person who arranges it so that he’s constantly in the international public arena.
Admired and hated by many, Fidel Castro is entering the fourth age not as a veteran statesman who knew how to lead his country into unprecedented economic and social improvement, as did Mandela and Lula, but as the man who believing himself God clung to power like a castaway to a lifesaver.
He’s paying dearly. After six years since his resignation — due to sickness, of course — his countrymen barely remember him.
On Sunday afternoon, when he was leaving the polling station, people said goodbye to him like grandchildren saying goodbye to their grandfather going on vacation. And with that, for a while, freeing the family from his perennial demand for attention.