We have not seen a lot of Fidel Castro since 2006. Once in a while, he greets a foreign leader or shows his face at a rally. This week, Fidel Castro spoke to the Communist Party and it sounded a lot like a man saying goodbye. This is from The New York Times:
“Soon, I will be 90,” said Mr. Castro, 89, who spoke in a strong but rasping voice at the close of a four-day party congress in Havana, according to official press reports. Mr. Castro’s birthday is on Aug. 13.
“Our turn comes to us all,” added Mr. Castro, who made his longest public address in years clad in a blue track jacket, “but the ideas of Cuban communism will endure.”
While Mr. Castro seemed to take his leave on Tuesday, others in his cohort signaled their intentions to stay put. The Communist Party announced that Mr. Castro’s brother, President Raúl Castro, 84, and the president’s hard-line second-in-command, José Ramón Machado Ventura, 85, would continue to lead the party for at least part of another five-year term.
Their re-election indicates that despite a dramatic shift in relations with the United States and tentative economic changes, the leaders of the Castros’ generation are in no hurry to make room for new blood. It is a blow to younger Cubans who are eager for a more pluralistic system led by people closer to their own ages and unencumbered by socialist orthodoxies.
Cubans are leaving the island in record numbers, tired of waiting for change and worried that better relations with the United States, while creating new economic opportunities, will end the privileges that make it easier to migrate.
They don’t do instant polls in Cuba or put them on the Cuban version of Drudge. However, my guess is that people in the hall were politely listening and most young people outside were tuned in to a Miami hip hop station.
Castro’s message was to call on Cubans to keep the faith. However, the reality is that “la revolucion” is broke and desperately looking for US tourists to provide the cash flow to pay bills and keep Castro Inc going another year.
Castro will probably die soon, or so he told the country. My good guess is that he never thought that a museum to him, and “la revolucion”, would be surrounded by a McDonalds, Office Depot and young Cubans texting non-revolutionary messages to each other.
Fidel Castro’s revolution failed miserably. I remember today all of those executed or put in prisons for saying that “la revolucion” would fail!
Go die soon Fidel. There is a very warm place waiting for you on the other side!