Cuba: Where’s Fidel?

Nonardo Perea

The last time Fidel Castro was seen in public was in January 2014 at an art exhibition.

HAVANA TIMES — Some gossip hounds are saying Fidel Castro has been admitted to a military hospital and that, by the looks of it, has very little time left – that he won’t pull through this one.

Others say (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) that what happened on December 17, when the world was informed Cuba and the United States would normalize diplomatic relations after more than 50 years of conflict, blew his mind. The news was so incredible it seems Fidel’s legs gave way and he collapsed from the shock.

The fact is that it’s odd he hasn’t responded in any way, not with a long “reflection” or photos where we see him in sports apparel, next to the Cuban Five, who were exchanged for other spies and have finally returned home to end the soap opera with a happy ending, where nearly everyone cries of happiness and the people join in with tears of joy and smiles.

Even I shed some tears (I’m rather sensitive and effeminate). In my case, I cried not only because of the melodramatic nature of the situation but also on hearing Obama’s speech. It was great, from top to bottom! I loved the part where he said: “The United States believes that no Cubans should face harassment or arrest or beatings simply because they’re exercising a universal right to have their voices heard, and we will continue to support civil society there.”

(I can’t help but bring to mind visual artist Tania Bruguera and other people who were recently arrested in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolucion, while about the stage an artistic performance).

Even though the media and people in general are saying absolutely nothing about Fidel Castro’s absence, his prolonged silence is making many think that something serious has happened to him. As I’ve said, we know nothing of this fellow who loves cameras, speeches, reflections and being seen, even if it’s only through photos where it’s impossible to tell how poor his health is right now.

If he’s alive, I wish him a speedy recovery, so that he can get to see the beginning of these new relations with his age-old enemy. If he’s dying or already dead, let him rest in peace, if he can manage it. Amen.

Nonardo Perea

Nonardo Perea: I see myself as an observant person and I like to write with sincerity what I think and live first hand. I’m shy and of few words; thus it’s difficult for me to engage in conversation. For that reason, my best tool for communicating is writing. I live in Marianao, Havana and am 40 years old.

29 thoughts on “Cuba: Where’s Fidel?

  • January 25, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    Griffin, looks like you have your facts all wrong:

    In 1962 the CIA helped the South African government track down and capture Mandela. (In 1990, the Cox News Service quoted a former U.S. official saying that within hours after Mandela’s arrest a senior CIA operative named Paul Eckel admitted the agency’s involvement)

    The anti-colonial struggle in Angola, which led to the 1974 coup in Portugal, was a turning point for Southern Africa. South Africa intervened with CIA support by land, sea, and air to stop the MPLA from coming to power. The Angolans asked for Cuban help to defeat the invasion led by South Africans, Zairian regulars, and CIA mercenaries.

    In November 1975, on the eve of Angola’s independence, Cuba launched a large-scale military intervention in support of the leftist People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) against United States-backed interventions by South Africa

  • January 19, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    Oh my, that was special: you tried to tell somebody who was born & raised in Grenada what the US invasion of Grenada was “really” about.

  • January 19, 2015 at 11:52 am

    The difference is that probably better than half the Cubans could accurately define socialism while in the USA or Canada , I’d bet that less than 5% could do so .

  • January 19, 2015 at 11:49 am

    Your response reveals a basic ignorance of Reagan’s 1983 invasion of Grenada and the purpose of the Cuban construction brigades in Grenada .
    If it -the invasion – was a good deed, why then was it necessary for Reagan to tell 13 lies in his pre-invasion speech to justify it ? Why wouldn’t they deal with Maurice Bishop when he went to Washington ?
    You can Google up the lies for yourself and begin catching up with factual history. I simply don’t have the time to fill you in on all you’re missing .
    The Chinese are not the problem because they are just one more economic power and they are actually less imperialist than is the U.S.
    All they want is the money and not to control other countries. . Lack of democracy under U.S. imperial control of much of the world is the biggest problem and lack of rationality and democracy under Islam is the coming game changer .

  • January 17, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Thanks for the answer and I am not here to attack anyone. I enjoy all the back and forth and as a naturalized American Citizen, for which I am eternally grateful , we can do this without fear.The reason I asked if you have been to Cuba is that my beliefs have been shaped by living in Grenada (4th generation ) and being married to a Cuban and visiting on more than one occasion . Reagan removing the Cubans from Grenada was more important to me on a personal level than anything else. The problem now is the Chinese are buying influence in many of the islands .

  • January 17, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Angola makes me wonder about those Cuban soldiers who returned home maimed only to see the new Angola they helped to bring about become the most corrupt and possibly least equal society in the whole of Africa.

  • January 17, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Nice post, thanks Jorge.
    I’ve been reading one of the books of Fidel’s speeches from the 80’s and he is an inspiration still.
    Once we see the death of the Empire and its influence on the world (IMO within 20 years), the history books will be very kind to Fidel.

  • January 17, 2015 at 11:46 am

    IF you had read and understood my many previous posts on Cuba , you’d know that I’m an anarchist of the Kropotkin-Bakunin-Bookchin-Chomsky school and as such am first a democrat.
    I support democracy and oppose totalitarian systems.
    I believe I am up to snuff on things Cuban
    and suffer no illusions as to the Leninist nature of the revolution at present
    I do happen to also understand the meaning of terms like democracy, socialism, communism , anarchism where a healthy percentage of those on the counter-revolutionary side of the debate have no clue . It is impossible to debate when you cannot agree on the meaning of terms . It is also impossible to debate with those who are willfully ignorant of the meaning of those terms; who refuse to accept what is taught in institutions of higher learning on these philosophies much as the God-morons deny evolution .
    Do YOU believe that free-enterprise capitalism is democratic ?
    Do you believe that the GOUSA is anything but an unelected dictatorship of money and NOT a democracy or a republic ?
    Well these folks do and will not accept the fact that they are wrong . This necessitates defining terms .
    So spare me the “adolescent argument” bullshit .

  • January 17, 2015 at 7:20 am

    The world will be a poorer place without Fidel Castro. There are very few people who have devoted their lives to, and been so successful at, improving the situation of their fellow human beings to the extent that he did. Not just in Cuba but in southern Africa and elsewhere. I am not a man who cries but I imagine I will when I find out that Castro has gone!

  • January 16, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Cuba is a very free country!..except for Israel and United States most countries in the world have good relations with Cuba. Even tourists like you should know that by now.

  • January 16, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Fidel has done very good things for Cuba and Cubans and he implemented . The problem with implementing any rigid process of development is that you take a stand on issues and when you do, there will always be people who also lose out. Going from Batista era inequality and corruption to American style capitalism is not possible in one step. There is a good change it could have ended up like the post-Soviet Russia of pure Putin and oligarchy corruption. Either that or Cuba can be like Mexico, Haiti, Guatemala. So many examples of being totally flexible to purely capitalistic tendencies that have ruined Latin America. From where Cuba began after Batista, Fidel has done his best to bring it to this point. Now the people will move forward from here to the next. Would be nice to hear from him before he bows out of planet Earth for good.

    Thank you Fidel!

  • January 16, 2015 at 2:37 am

    I don’t think they’ll take much convincing…

  • January 16, 2015 at 2:12 am

    Wow. That’s a stretch. I don’t live on welfare (in fact, I don’t know anyone who does) and I watch Fox Sports but never any of the news programs. You should try to comment on the post rather than attack the commenters.

  • January 16, 2015 at 2:10 am

    John, you didn’t answer his question. Admit once again that you have NEVER been to Cuba.

  • January 16, 2015 at 2:06 am

    Racial equality? You have obviously never been to Cuba. Politicians should NOT be “around this many years”. He was a DICTATOR. I do agree with one thing you wrote: It has been time for about 46 years for the Castros to leave and let somebody have a shot at screwing up Cuba.

  • January 16, 2015 at 2:01 am

    When you can’t attack the comment, attack the commenter. Is that the best ya’ got?

  • January 15, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    Yes , I imagine you are very curious.
    and I have never been asked that second question without it being a lead-in to an unfounded attack .
    Why do you ask these questions. ?
    To get to what I’m guessing you’re probably really wanting to know, please do know that as an anarchist/(small d) democrat, I oppose Cuba’s Leninist -style government and likewise totalitarian state- capitalist economic form but also, first oppose U.S. imperialism which is ALSO centered upon denying democratic rights to the world.
    My duty as a U.S. citizen is to try to stop my government from doing this and THEN to oppose other totalitarian systems such as in Cuba and far worse in many free enterprise countries ( Saudi Arabia for example )
    If I have misread your intent , please do correct me.

    Care to discuss Reagan’s 1983 invasion of Grenada ?
    That’s one of my favorites.

  • January 15, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    You have a factual error there: Mandela was arrested by South African police in 1962. The CIA was in no way involved in his arrest. Cuba was not in Angola at that time either. Your timelines are way off.

    You should resist the temptation to engage is romantic revolutionary narratives with no connection to historical fact.

  • January 15, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    John well said, couldn’t agree more. Sounds like most of these Castro haters are actually Americans living on welfare from the US tax payer and watching Fox all day and posting non stop trash talk on HT (I wont name names) LOL.

  • January 15, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    oh whine whine whine …

  • January 15, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    the world knows the legacy of Fidel. He educated the masses, brought down infant mortality, brought racial equality, built up the largest number of doctors in the world per capita. Stood up to imperialism – yes stood up to bullies. History in Angola shows how Cuba helped fight racist apartheid, at a time when The CIA helped the South African government capture Nelson Mandela. History will remember him as a man who genuinely tried to do his people good. What politician around for this many years can have legacy as great as Castro. I think its a great time to hand over the reigns of the country to younger Cubans who will keep his legacy alive and build a better Cuba.

  • January 15, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    You raise a good point: this is a case of the dog that didn’t bark in the night.

    In my opinion, Fidel is very ill and could not greet the returned Cuban spies, at least not publicly. His close circle has decided not to display him like that, which is only decent.

    I don’t imagine there has been a big power shift behind the scenes. Raul has always been rather close to his brother and any ideological differences are rather minor. Raul has been in power long enough to move his people into the key positions and to quietly retire Fidel’s favourites.

  • January 15, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Now that Obama has changed the rules for travel, John can finally got to Cuba and see it for himself. I can’t wait to hear the stories of him running through Revolution Square, haranguing Cubans that “Cuba isn’t really socialist or communist, you know!”


  • January 15, 2015 at 9:42 am

    I’d like to second Grenada’s question. Have you ever been to Cuba (except on a solidarity brigade, perhaps)? Do you even read Spanish.
    I don’t agree with a lot of what Moses posts here (I’m a long way to his left) but it is obvious that when he talks about “Cuba”, of his and his family’s experiences there, he is using that word to refer to the same sad beautiful island I know (a little) and love. The same cannot be said for Mr Goodrich and other fantasists, for whom “Cuba” denotes a sort of weird neverneverland of their own imagining, a peg on which to hang adolescent arguments about the real meaning of socialism and imperialism. Pitiful stuff.

    As to the article in question, i think the author is quite right that Fidel’s failure to make any kind of appearance shaking hands with the homecoming “heroes” is significant. It was Fidel who started and sustained the fifteen years of “volveran”, his cause, his heroes. Either he is very greviously ill, or there has been a dramatic power-shift behind the curtain.

  • January 14, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    Mr.Goodrich, I am curious to know your country of origin and if you have ever visited Cuba?

  • January 14, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    When Fidel retired from leadership, he retired from leadership.
    To resign but retain control of any sort over the doings of the Cuban government would interfere with the elected leadership and Fidel seems to have -at least publicly – stayed away from doing that and took up writing his “Reflections” column which deals with world conditions, the ecology etc but never internal government affairs .
    Of course , his enemies suspect that he devises , implements and enforces everything in Cuba such is their hysteria.
    History will absolve him of the accusations of fools because history will not be written by Fox News.

  • January 13, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    The problem with his legacy and the way you characterize him as having “stood up to the “bullies” is that he did it on the backs of 11 million Cubans. If he had held open and free elections as Mandela did and was elected by a undeniable majority of the Cuban people, I still might not like him but I would have to respect that he served his people as they wished him to serve. Instead, he turned Cuba into a homophobic, anti-religion, anti-technology prison and installed himself as the warden. With no free speech, no right to free assembly, no other political parties and no independent media, he is indisputably a dictator. By definition, there is NOTHING he has accomplished that is untainted by the stain of tyranny.

  • January 13, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    Amen – I agree. I would love to hear from Fidel. Even one last time would be great.

  • January 13, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    Like him or not like….will take his place in history…in a BIG way….some good and certainly some questionable…..but in “his way” certainly stood up to the “bullies” N of the a Island

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