How Does Fidel Castro See Cuba’s New Era with the USA?

By Isaac Risco (dpa)

Fidel Castro during his last public outing in January 2014. Photo: cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES — Where is Fidel Castro? The total absence in public of the former Cuban president begins to generate questions days after the governments of Washington and Havana announced a landmark agreement to resume their relations.

Fidel has not published a single line since Wednesday, the day that his brother Raul Castro and US President Barack Obama made known before the cameras the most important turn in half a century in the turbulent relations between the two countries.

Neither have the Cuban authorities released any images of Fidel. It is not known, for example, if Castro has seen the “Cuban Five”, intelligence agents arrested in 1998 in the United States and now all back in Havana. The veteran revolutionary, now 88, made the cause of the Cuban Five an emblem of his feud with Washington.

The last three former spies arrived on Wednesday to Havana after being released as part of the agreement between Obama and Raul Castro, after months of secret negotiations. Since then, the Cuban Five have taken part in several public events in Havana.

Cubans are actually accustomed to the absence of Fidel Castro. The former president is long retired from public life. The last time he was seen outside his home was in January this year when he unexpectedly visited an art gallery. Photos of the Cuban leader bent by age were seen around the world.

His silence during the last five days has raised eyebrows, especially when the eyes of the world are on the island.

“He will write a ‘reflection’ soon, of course he will,” believes Rogelio Cutiño, a 52-year-old musician on the Malecon, the famous seaside promenade of the Cuban capital.

“He always comes out. He said they (the Cuban Five) would return and they did,” chimes in Mario Martin, 64, alluding to a phrase of Fidel Castro that became a slogan for the cause of the Cuban Five throughout the last decade.

The questions also revolve around the role Fidel may have played in the rapprochement with his old ideological enemy. Although out of office since 2006, on the island it seems inconceivable that Fidel Castro has not been privy to the negotiations between his brother and Obama.

“I’m sure he’s very happy and must have taken part in all these decisions,” his niece, Mariela Castro, told CNN last week.

Raul Castro’s daughter, a known activist for the rights of sexual minorities in Cuba and a member of parliament, was also convinced that her uncle “will at any time write one of his usual ‘reflections”.

Since a severe intestinal illness forced him from power in 2006, Fidel Castro lives in retirement at his home on the western side of Havana, dedicated to his studies and his avid habit of following international news, the official press has noted in the past.

The former president also occasionally writes his “reflections”, opinion pieces that are immediately published in “Granma” and the other official media.

However the ‘reflections’ have become increasingly scarce. Fidel’s latest articles, published in mid-October, praised the Cuban contribution to the fight against Ebola in Africa. A few days earlier he had also written a text on an editorial in “The New York Times”, which now seems more like a premonition.

The newspaper is a “press organ that under certain circumstances outlines patterns on the most appropriate political line for the interests of its country,” wrote Castro, on the article in the influential newspaper that called for an end to the embargo on Cuba.

So was Fidel Castro aware of the negotiations? That is a question that perhaps he himself will soon clear up. For now, he’s ceded the political leadership to his brother.


8 thoughts on “How Does Fidel Castro See Cuba’s New Era with the USA?

  • December 25, 2014 at 8:43 am
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    Unfortunately for the utopian minded “Communism” has been adopted by many a coercive central control regime. The world has learned that centralization of all economic production promoted by these regimes does not work. Cuba gave the central command and control model more than a decent try. Now Raul is correcting the “errors of the revolution”. The modern state has many ways of redistributing economic gains, owning all means of production is not needed for state control over an economy. I take Raul at his word that Cuba is not giving up on principles of communism, it is evolving the economic model to correct for inherent rigidity and lack of incentive built into a command and control model. Perhaps this new model of “communism, will begin to disassociate the name from “coercive failed state”. For now communism = failure.

  • December 23, 2014 at 11:00 pm
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    True. Cuba is not state capitalist. The U.S. does not spend 50+ years trying to overthrow a fellow capitalist country
    . It tried the stick. An utter failure. Now it will try the carrot. A lot of carrots. It will fail also.

  • December 22, 2014 at 6:56 pm
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    Its because of the failure of Castro style communism that you have no success’ to point to. All you can do is dig up Batista long dead corps to beat up on again.

    How about you address the contribution of the entire Cuban middle class, doctors, engineers, lawyers, writers, artists who fled Cuba and made a life for themselves in other lands. Why not address the expropriation of private Cuban homes and businesses. Why not address the forced work camps; because I can tell you, cortando caña en el monte is no fun!

    …There’s nothing more abhorrent than an American armchair Bolshevek lecturing a Cuban on the wonders of Castro fascism.

  • December 22, 2014 at 6:25 pm
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    I don’t know anyone who has ever claimed that the US and Cuba are alike except you. you stand alone on this one.

  • December 22, 2014 at 6:22 pm
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    If you are suggesting that a murderous and tyrannical dictator like Fidel Castro supplanted an even more murderous and tyrannical dictator in Fulgencio Batista and his cohorts, I won’t argue with you. Calling that a “wonderful contribution” is debatable however. No one should deny the tragic bombing of flight #455 nor should the Castro dictatorship use this tragedy as an excuse to justify the lack of basic human rights in Cuba. I am not sure how mentioning this disaster would help the cause of more freedom and democracy for Cuba, but if it makes you feel better to do so, go right ahead.

  • December 22, 2014 at 5:02 pm
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    Moses, while you eagerly await the “DIS-solvement” of Fidel Castro, why don’t you spend a little time telling the world about the wonderful contributions, both on the island and in their later safe havens, made by people he booted off the island — Fulgencio Batista, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Santo Trafficante Jr., Rolando Masferrer, Rafael Diaz-Balart, Jorge Mas Canosa, Orlando Bosch, and Luis Posada Carriles…just for starters. When it comes to two-sides of coins or conundrums, fair is fair, you know. It strikes me that, since 1959, even the halcyon American democracy has largely been allowed only to address one side of that two-sided malaise. I, for one, prefer a less intimidated democracy — one that, for example, would be allowed to mourn and/or regret the terrorist bombs placed aboard Cubana Flight 455 on Oct. 6, 1976. I still remember the Miami media heralding the painful celebration with this harangue: “It’s the biggest blow yet against Castro!!” It was, in fact, one of the biggest blows against democracy in America, don’t you think? And, of course, such “blows against Castro” helped assure his longevity and will also cement his legacy. Of course, anti-Castro zealots never mention such things as Cubana Flight 455, do they, Moses?

  • December 22, 2014 at 11:01 am
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    At this point, what can Fidel say? Even his declaration that one day the spies would return to Cuba had no impact on President Obama’s decision to trade the remaining 3 spies for the US spy held in Cuba. Not that that will stop him from taking credit for Obama’s actions though. The Castros have crafted a dynamic that allows them to take credit for any remotely positive that occurs in Cuba and blame others for anything negative. He is correct about one prediction: “History will DIS-solve him”. I’m guessing sooner rather than later.

  • December 22, 2014 at 10:27 am
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    I watched a great deal of coverage of the recent break in the embargo on Fox News and Chris Wallace actually stated that this was an appeasement to FIDEL Castro .
    He said his name twice in his remarks apparently unaware , as are most Americans , that Fidel retired from active participation in government affairs some SIX years ago. He never mentioned Raul in his comments yesterday.
    Secondly, there is constant referral to communist Cuba, Communist Cuba, the communist government and so on .
    Cuba is not communist.
    It is run by a PARTY that calls itself Communist but that party and that government cannot be communist since it is run from the top down and no definition of communism or socialism that does not have as a central point, the running of the society from the bottom-up, by the workers , can be considered seriously as intellectually worthy .
    Cuba is a state capitalist economy. It differs in its form only in that instead of private individuals confiscating the bulk of the workers surplus production , the state becomes the boss.
    They are both totalitarian forms
    They are both forms of capitalism .
    We know that our form of capitalism is not communism.
    We , the GOUSA and the corporate media refuse to admit that Cuba is not that much different in its totalitarian approach to its economy than is the USA. and for the obvious reason.
    In Cuba you can’t tell the state how to run the economy.
    In the USA you cant tell your boss or the board of directors how to run the economy.
    You do as you’re told.
    It’s the American way to not question the fundamental structures of their religions, economic set-up, oligarchic electoral system or (to a lesser extent) the traditional male-dominated nuclear family structure enforced by the more primitive religions.
    It is a bad joke and the height of hypocrisy for such a society to demand democracy in Cuba.
    You can’t handle democracy.

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