Does Anyone Care Anymore about Fidel?

Fidel Castro Publishes “Reflections” in Chinese and is Named Hero of the Poultry Industry

Sergio Valdivieso  (Café Fuerte)

Fidel Castro in January 2014.

HAVANA TIMES — Though he made no public appearance and no photos of the living room of his home in a secure Havana location were televised, Fidel Castro has made headlines in recent Cuban news.

In addition to recent events, it so happens that a selection of 38 of Fidel Castro’s now less-frequent “reflections” have been published in Chinese. The book was launched in Beijing last weekend, thanks to the joint efforts of the Cuban Embassy and the Chinese Association for Peace and Disarmament.

Days before, in Havana, the elderly leader enjoyed singular acknowledgment “for his dedication and commitment to the development of Cuba’s poultry industry.”

During the main ceremony of the festivities celebrating the 50th anniversary of Cuba’s National Poultry Plant (CAN), Castro was awarded the special, “50 Years of Service to the People” distinction by Emiliano Diaz Lopez, the current CAN director.

Since his current health condition does not allow Castro to attend such functions in person, as he used to, Diaz handed the trophy to Minister of Agriculture Gustavo Rodriguez, so that he would have it reach the Comandante (history has proven that he, not Hugo Chavez, is the true, eternal comandante).

Cuba’s Eggs

According to Cuba’s official press, the award expresses the “gratitude, pride and sincere feelings of all poultry farmers in the country.”

During the ceremony, the Minister of Agriculture reminisced about Castro’s “advice for the poultry industry” and talk of reaching production levels similar to those registered in 1991 (when the production record of 2.7 billion eggs was reported) by 2020. Currently, egg production indices barely exceed 2.65 billion and the promise made by CAN’s creator during a 1965 speech, when it was said Cuban chickens had superseded all goals and the country would soon be exporting eggs, has not yet been fulfilled.

These are two peculiarities of the personality cult that continues to exist under Cuba’s anachronistic totalitarian system. The most curious note published during this time, however, was addressed to Granma newspaper by the leader himself, who, this past Monday, complained about not having been informed of the death of volleyball coach Eugenio George by Cuba’s National Sports Institute (INDER) in a timely fashion.

According to his brief missive to the newspaper, “several comrades thought it curious that no floral wreaths from us were placed on his coffin.”

“I, a life-long admirer, was not informed of his death until several hours after the burial,” Castro added.

The Proclamation: Eight Years Later

The three incidents above – linked only by the name of Fidel Castro – all point to one certain fact: the growing irrelevance that is beginning to bury the figure of Cuba’s formerly omnipresent leader in life. I am not speaking of his declining influence over the nation’s affairs or the younger generations, but over the very members of the government.

It will soon be eight years since Castro proclaimed that he was stepping down (on July 31, 2006), following a surgical procedure that would put a definitive end to his leadership. Caught up in the maneuvers and blunders of Raul Castro’s administration, I believe we haven’t yet become aware of how much the figure of Fidel Castro has withdrawn at the discursive and symbolic levels.

A quick glance at the last, massive projects he set in motion prior to his illness make us aware of how insignificant those efforts are to today’s Cuba: the energy revolution of electronic contraptions, intensively-trained teachers (who succumbed under the challenges of the education system), social workers (who ended up as custodians at gas stations), etc. The last strike was the promotion of moringa and morena plants as dietary supplements, something the State media has long ceased to do.

Between the Weekly Movie Package and Fidel’s Reflections

Cuban society has changed a lot since. It’s not that Raul Castro has become a reformer or anything of the sort. He has merely been forced to mold and make more flexible a number of rigid norms inherited from Fidel’s time in order to remain in power.

Let us be honest about it: what room could there be for Fidel Castro’s “reflections”, news published by Granma and aired on the TV Round Table program between the shy steps towards increasing Internet access, the two million cell phones now in the hands of the population, illegal cable television and the weekly “package” of foreign TV shows, soap operas and informative materials?

Who cares, at this stage in the game, if the man has his reflections published in Chinese, is named a hero of the national poultry industry or complains about being kept in the dark about something?

I have the impression it is less and less important for the Party leadership itself, regardless of how many vows and promises of future abundance we hear about in the propaganda of the regime, caught between a past that can offer us nothing and a present characterized by unproductiveness, the hunt for foreign investment and the demands of an incredulous and alert population.

I want to think that the greatest grief weighs on whatever is left of Fidel Castro, on the eve of his 88th birthday.

49 thoughts on “Does Anyone Care Anymore about Fidel?

  • I wouldn;t dream of sitting down to debate your definitions of socialism or communism. They are irrelevant. In Cuba it is Fidel Castro’s definition which is important, not that of a US imperialist!

  • Mr. Goodrich, I and my wife do not live in Havana, but have visited it several times for two or three days. We have been stopped by the State Police in the street on four occasions and once when in a taxi. Demands of identity, where were we living, where were we going, where had we come from? You really don’t know what you are bleating about. Such actions are not a consequence of a US “war” or embargo. They are demonstrations of a police state. My wife and I have together paid visits to Europe and to North America and never been stopped by the police. Such is the blessing of freedom Mr. Goodrich. I don’t think you have ever visited a Communist country but have been stuffed if a left wing reference library scribbling down various references to pearls of socialist thought.

  • Remember Mr. Goodrich that it is YOUR embargo, the US people elect their Government and President. If you don’t wish to be associated with the US, leave it and move to Cuba. The suggestion is just ‘Common Sense’ – reference Thomas Reid Professor of Philosophy, University of Aberdeen 1760

  • Viva Fidel
    Viva Raul
    VIva los Castros
    Que controla toda y todos!
    Viva Fidel
    Viva Raul
    Viva the Castros
    Who control everybody and everything!
    Long live the dictatorship!
    Who voted for it?

  • Mr. Goodrich, I do not agree with much you write about , but I enjoy reading your comments anyway. I do like the fact that you are passionate about Grenada and Cuba as I am. My hope is that all the people of the Caribbean islands can see their lives improve no matter who is in charge, without excess outside influence.

  • The only dream for cubans living on cuba today is how to get away….Not much floating left on the island talk a language of it´s own.

  • As usual, you have deluded yourself into believing you know more than an eyewitness native Grenadian regarding the invasion. This is in keeping with your capacity to call Cubans “ex-Cubans” because they disagree with your views. Oh, and that other thing you believe where you know better than all of humankind regarding the structure of family where your view opposes the nuclear family. Piece of work.

  • The regime has crews to paint up the “revolutionary slogans” with the faces of the “dear leader”” and other (mostly dead) idiots. The also paint over anti-Castro slogans.
    They always have paint while most Cubans can’t find it to paint their house.

  • You can start with “The Autobiography of Fidel Castro” by Norberto Fuentes. Fuentes was a revolutionary and a close friend and confident of Fidel for 30 years. They had a falling out over the Ochoa affair and Fidel tossed Fuentes in prison. After Gabriel Marquez intervened, Fidel agreed to let Fuentes leave Cuba.

    Another book to get a good picture of the Cuban dictator’s character is “Family Portrait with Fidel” by Carlos Franqui. The author was also a revolutionary and friend of Fidel. He quickly grew dissillussioned and left Cuba in the late 1960s.

    There are countless other comments and references to Fidel’s narcissism and hypochondria from numerous and seperate sources.

  • Produce your college professors or other experts and we’ll debate the matter at THAT unlikely point.
    Cuba is a Communist state as you posted it .
    It is run largely by the Cuban COMMUNIST Party and so can be called Communist……but NOT communist which would indicate that its systems were communist and which we agree are not.

  • Did you read of Reagan’s 13 lies to justify the invasion?
    Did you check out those lies ?
    Are they lies or are they not lies ?
    There are none so blind as those who will not see.
    Suppose you tell me where Reagan or the USG told the truth about the invasion.
    I’m willing to be found wrong .
    How about you ?

  • You are making a serious mistake in posting what you did .
    You are herewith challenged to cite the lies and your sources for that information.
    Just as a warning shot across your bow, the Grenada airport project was underwritten by Margaret Thatcher’s British government. A Florida company did the dredging.
    The Finns installed the lighting.
    I have an extensive knowledge of the Grenada invasion and I promise you the intellectual beating of your life if you wish to continue your nonsense .
    Cite your sources to begin your public embarrassment .

  • For Cubaqus and Griffin,
    How many people paint or post pictures of Reagan, Bush, Obama .?
    Fidel is revered by a great majority of his countrymen and you can deny this at the risk of your credibility and your intellectual reputations .
    Please cite the books and more importantly, the authors of those books that claim Fidel is/was a narcissist.
    I can almost certainly expect them to be anti- revolutionary crap and from an extreme right wing perspective .
    That people go to the trouble of finding and framing or otherwise putting pictures of Fidel up when he requested that no hero-worship take place for him, just points out the love and respect his countrymen feel for him.

  • I believe you.

  • As a fifth generation Grenadian , that was there and lived it , I don’t need to Google to find the truth.

  • I am quite sure that 99% of the remittances to Cubans in Cuban come from private citizens supporting their families. the total in goods and cash is estimated at over 5 billion. Please tell me why you claim the US government has a 5 BILLION program in Cuba and post your “proof”.
    You are exposed as a joke, John.
    I am “innocently informed ” about Cuban reality, John. You are “dogmatically ignorant”. Get your facts straight.
    Note that Cuba is a police state, a Stalinist system. Another fact you deny.

  • “Communism and socialism are bottom-up democratic systems .Cuba is a top-down state controlled ( Soviet -style) economy.

    That particular rhetorical fallacy is called “begging the question”.

  • Your argument by authority is a classic rhetorical failure. You can bring your university professors. Another group of university professors can be trotted out to argue the other side. That’s the wonderful thing about universities: they represent a huge diversity of opinion.

    The only rational conclusion is that there are several different varieties and definitions of “communism” and “socialism” and “democracy” and so on.

    Think of it this way: your name is “John”. As it happens, I have a friend named “John”. He is not you, but he is a university professor so presumably he’s an expert & knows more about being “John” than you do. Would it make sense then to insist you are not really “John”?

    Of course not. It would be ridiculous to insists you cannot be John. Likewise, you are ridiculous when you insist Cuba is not a Communist state.

  • You assume Castro was telling the truth. He was lying about what Cuba was up to in Grenada.

  • I would agree with Fidel about what is and what is not socialism or communism .
    I am perfectly willing and eager to sit down with anyone who would care to dispute my definitions of socialism and communism .
    But be aware that in any such discussion or debate I will have university professors and other experts on socialism, communism and economics by my side to validate /confirm or deny all information tendered in that debate.
    YOU may call black white.
    You may call Cuba’s systems socialist or communist when no scholarly source will back up those claims but I have more intellectual integrity than that.
    I do not accept common wisdom in the United States since it is often a product of disinformation disseminated by the media .
    A state controlled economy cannot be called a socialist economy.
    A state controlled economy cannot be called a communist economy.
    It would be better for you to accept the actual definitions of these economic forms than to make up definitions that are more convenient for you but make you out to be uneducated on the subject matter.
    Communism and socialism are bottom-up democratic systems .
    Cuba is a top-down state controlled ( Soviet -style) economy.

  • You cannot possibly be unaware that the remittances that come into Cuba come from PRIVATE CITIZENS.
    That money does NOT come from the government of the U.S.A.
    If you do not recognize that the economic plight of Cubans is directly linked to the 54 year old U.S. embargo then you are certainly guilty of seeing only what you want to see, are opposed to the revolution and are unable to be objective as to the causes of Cuba’s problems.
    Let me point out to you that since WWII, the GOUSA has attempted to overthrow more than 60 governments and 30 nationalist or humanitarian movements.
    If you think that Cuba’s anti-imperialism and socialist-STYLE society is not the target of the GOUSA and a continuation of a century old foreign policy imperative, then you’re dumber than a bucket full of hammers.
    You are criminally ignorant of Cuban and U.S. history.
    Cuba’s leadership may be Leninist (elite cadre-led ) but it is a far cry from a Stalinist police state unless you believe what Fox news and the crazies in Miami have to say. .

  • If Reagan were correct in what he did, why was it necessary for him to tell 13 separate lies in his pre-invasion speech to convince the American public that it was justified ?
    Stop being ignorant of history and Google up the many articles that enumerate and point out these lies.
    Of especial interest and accuracy is Fidel Castro’s listing and analyses of these lies also available on-line.
    Please read Castro’s account of the U.S. invasion and then compare it with what is contained in Reagan’s pre-invasion speech . I found it the most complete account of the lies which, of course the U.S. corporate media refused to print. m
    You can then check out the historic record for who told the truth and it was not Reagan nor the NYT or any other U.S. media outlet .
    As I recall the New York Times refused a full page on the Grenada invasion that the Cuban government wanted to publish so please spare me any excuses for that U.S. Imperial action before you learn about U.S. foreign policy history .
    The most important thing you have to learn is that the GOUSA and especially the State Department ( Foreign ministry in most other countries) constantly lie to cover illegal and immoral actions overseas, not to disguise these actions to those on which they are imposed but to fool the U.S. electorate into supporting such immoral and illegal actions. .
    It should be noted that Cuba supported the New Jewel Movement and Maurice Bishop but not the Coard group that took over and killed Bishop and which was in control of Grenada when the U.S. invaded. .

  • I am from Grenada and was there when the communist group took over and Reagan was correct in what he did and said. My wife is Cuban and told me many stories so I decided to see for myself and spent two weeks there with her family. They had to get permission for me to stay with them and then I had to report to the office of immigration to check in. My wife says to add that it is an open jail .

  • I don’t know if Moses has explained it to him yet, but maybe next time he’s in Cuba he will open a bottle of nice rum and regale them with tales of this Yuma fool who has never been to Cuba but he still thinks he knows better than Fidel or Raul what “Communism” or “socialismo” is. They will laugh so hard they’ll be in tears.

  • But then you can see Fidel painted by the official chivatos of the CDR painted on every other wall, no?
    How hypocrite can you get, John?

  • There is no “war” on Cuba. The US is the largest source of remittances that keep Cubans alive. Funny “war”.
    The society in Cuba today has been created by a dictator: Fidel Castro. He has imposed a Stalinist system on the Cuban people and denies them freedom of choice.
    The regime is immoral and your hypocritical defense of it is equally immoral. I know better than you what happens in Cuba and I see no reason or need to lie about it.

  • Many of Fidel’s biographers and memoirists of the Cuban Revolution have noted the Cuban ruler’s narcissism.

    For a man who banned so called “official pictures” there certainly are quite a large number of photographs, murals and signs with his face on them all over the country.

  • And ….how many years now has the moron right been predicting a coup, a violent death for Fidel ( and Raul) and this overnight reversion to pre-revolutionary Cuban society ?
    Your revisionist version of the Cuban Missile Crisis is such

  • The U.S. has not done well lately with coups against governments it doesn’t like.
    So no coup is likely in Cuba.
    Cuba is reforming and will continue to retain the socialist aspects of the revolution and deny a foothold for capitalism since, as most understand, a little capitalism is like being a little pregnant. It’s the slippery slope, the camel’s nose under the tent and if the benefits of the revolution are to be maintained, capitalism must not be allowed nor will it be

  • Your grandfather is as ignorant as you if he thinks Cuba is communist or even socialist.
    You have explained it all to him , haven’t you ?

  • For someone who admires and respects the Pretender Obama whose speeches are as empty of serious content as are you , I don’t think you are qualified to judge speeches.
    I’ve read several books of Fidel’s speeches and find them brilliant for the dead accurate factual content provided without notes.
    Your boy Obama can’t speak 20 seconds without a carefully written script and the two Bushes were blithering idiots who couldn’t get things right even with a script .
    Just for a little exercise you might want to try what I always dare you to do and that is read one of those “boring” speeches ( interesting that you think Chomsky is boring as well- I guess brilliant people WOULD bore someone like you. ) and try to find lies or inaccuracies .
    Your boy Reagan gave a speech just before the Grenada invasion in Oct 1983 in which he told 13 lies and since you know Fidel is a tyrant and a killer it should be easy for you to find entire paragraphs in Fidel’s speeches that are or were untrue.
    Make my day.

  • Fidel banned all statues and official pictures of himself while he held power.
    Not exactly like the Hitlers, Stalins and Kim Il-Sungs of the world.
    And unlike them he retired and has lived a quiet peaceful existence ever since .
    Try to be a bit less histrionic and a bit more objective will you ?
    You sound like Sean Hannity.

  • The USA imposed its war on Cuba well over 50 years ago and it is that hostility , that existential threat to Cuba’s sovereignty that has created the society Cuba has today.
    Call off your immoral and hypocritical embargo and see what happens to Cuba before you pass such judgements .

  • One thing is for sure: If you get a call that Fidel wants to see you in an hour at his home at Punto Cero, I know where you will be in an hour.

  • Fidel imposed a dictatorship that resulted in a destruction of civil society and a corrupt elite. He learned Cubans to lie, steal and beg.

  • The whole elite still trembles when they hear the name Fidel Castro.
    That is who cares.

  • Here’s my opinion on why some Cuban’s consider Fidel
    Castro a hero yet despise communism. It’s independence and perhaps in that vein a feeling that one is not obliged to recognize the US as a savior or in some minds an imperialist menace. I know many Cuban’s in their sixties and seventies who live comfortably in this country whose
    families initially supported Castro but fled quickly when he touted the Marxist mantra. You know much more than me Moses on this one so I’ll revert back to the experts. One final thought regarding my belief that the ex-pat’s will play a very important role in a transition. Just like in Poland and many other eastern bloc countries in the eighties, Cuba will have to change and the clock is ticking fast for the likes of Raul and his lackeys. My guess is a coup but again, I’m no expert.

  • Fidel’s 8 hour long rants were the product of his narcissistic personality disorder. The people were there to provide his narcissistic supply. Such has been the whole pathetic history of Cuba since that monster
    Seized power 55 years ago.

    The only reason he’s still alive is because the devil dreads having to listen to Fidel lecture him on the right way to run Hell.

  • OK, snarkiness aside. I have found that there is this unexplainable disconnect between what older people think about Fidel personally versus what they think about the state of affairs in Cuba in general. That is too say, for example, my wife’s grandfather, who is in his 80’s is a FIDELISTA! But he hates communism, thinks Cuba is a disaster, and is convinced that Cuba will be a capitalist country soon. Yet, he does not blame Fidel. It is so weird…..

  • Moses, you know very well that such a blanket statement is false. Many people who have lived under Fidel see him in a favorable light, moreso than the system he created and ran. It may be a minority today but in the over 50 crowd he could still be very popular.

  • US based Cuban ex-pats control Cuba??? You are deluded. Raul and the FAR are firmly in control. I’m sure he pays due respect to his older brother, but Fidel isn’t up to too much any more.

  • That’s a pleasant thought but I don’t the Beasts from Biran will go down without a fight. Keep in mind, these are the brothers who during the cuban missile crisis were willing to face the nuclear annihilation of the Cuban people in order to win against Washington.

  • The Versailles? Are you kidding? When this tyrant croaks, the American Airlines Arena where the NBA champion Miami Heat play basketball may not be big enough to contain the celebration.

  • Yes, as you said, I am correct. But no, the vast majority of Cubans do not reflect anything close to the nonsense spouted in his boorish speeches.

  • No, you can’t speak for Cubans. You see Fidel as an inspiring light? Those who actually lived under his tyranny see him as a pain in the arse.

  • I mentioned this a few days ago and believe that Fidel Castro is no longer running the show. Raul also isn’t the guy who’s pulling the strings either. The question is who actually is touting the party line. The military? I don’t know but it’s the major question in my mind. I would venture to guess that some ex-patriates, primarily based in the US could in fact be in touch with powers to be and we will see a major peaceful transition of power. Keep in mind, there are many people living in Cuba and in South and Central America who still idolize Fidel Castro.

  • Don’t call the caterer or reserve a table at the Versailles just yet, the old Gallo is still up at the crack or dawn.

  • Fidel led the revolution and instilled the principles that inspire the Cuban people today to hold out against imperialist attempts to reinstall capitalism .
    His many hours long speeches were not made to hear himself talk but to educate the largely illiterate and long repressed poor of Cuba about what they faced and what they could hope to achieve.
    Those teachings have taken and run deep across the island and today Cuba’s influence in the world far out-shadows its diminutive size and wealth and due in large part to the populations dedication to his teachings.
    In one sense, people like Moses who insist that “the Castros” meaning Raul AND Fidel are running Cuba are correct since the thinking of the vast majority of the Cuban people reflects that fact. .

    Fidel, as General Douglas MacArthur said and as an old soldier “will not die but just fade away” as he is doing.
    It’s a far different ending for his life than the counter-revolutionaries have always hopefully predicted.
    Viva Fidel.

  • Who cares about Fidel? Millions of people worldwide, that’s who. I can’t speak for Cubans, but for those of us who have struggled against capitalism, poverty, racism and national oppression, Fidel has been a guiding light, an inspiration. He is someone who the U.S. empire cannot defeat. Long Live Fidel! ¡Viva Fidel!

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