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:

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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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