[Marxism] Castro's illness
lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Oct 9 09:32:50 MDT 2006
Friday, Oct. 06, 2006
Castro Reported to Have Cancer
U.S. intelligence reports now say the Cuban leader's condition appears
terminal, government officials tell TIME
By SALLY B. DONNELLY AND TIMOTHY J. BURGER/WASHINGTON
Ever since President Fidel Castro was sidelined for what was said to be
abdominal surgery last July, Cuban officials have maintained that the
country's leader will return to his post. ''We will again have him leading
the revolution,'' said Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque just two days
ago, speaking at an outdoor rally to protest the U.S. trade embargo against
Cuba, according to the Communist Party daily newspaper Granma.
But U.S. officials tell TIME that many in the U.S. government are now
convinced that Castro, 80, has terminal cancer and will never return to
power. "Certainly we have heard this, that this guy has terminal cancer,"
said one U.S. official.
Of course, such intelligence reports could be wrong, and one official
cautioned that definitive proof is nearly impossible for the U.S. to come
by. Yet the fact that the Cuban government removed Castro from the public
stage before his death could suggest that Castro and his would-be
successors were aware of a terminal condition and wanted to gauge public
reaction to his absence. "They got to see how people would react," says one
U.S. official. "They have had a chance to see how things might work without
out him functioning day-to-day."
The U.S. government has been preparing for Castro's departure for half a
century. That doesn't mean that things will change much. Fidel's brother
Raul, 75, has been acting president since Fidel went into the hospital and
has given no indication that he will change the policies of the isolated
Communist government that has tormented the U.S. since taking power in
1959. Though he has until recently kept a very low profile, Raul Castro
not Fidel was feted as the host of the non-aligned nations' summit on
Sept. 15. Then Raul called a high profile meeting of the country's local,
provincial and national leadership at what he called "this historic moment
in our country's history." In another sign of his increasing prominence,
two weeks ago Raul delivered his first televised national speech at the
close of a trade union federation congress.
October 9, 2006
Why Cuba Matters
By SAUL LANDAU
Reporters and friends keep asking: "so what'll happen when Castro dies?"
"A big funeral in Havana," I reply with certainty.
One other sure thing: anti-Castro exiles in south Florida will throw a
mammoth party. On July 31, Fidel revealed he would have surgery and ceded
temporarily responsibilities to his brother Raul. Little Havana's streets
erupted in celebration. Politically, Fidel again showed he has ability to
induce obsession in his enemies, thus making it difficult for them to think
clearly--apart from questions of bad taste. Fidel's stature will continue
to cloud south Florida's political reality.
The Cuban American National Foundation appealed to Cuba's civilian
population and military forces to rise up and overthrow the tyrannical
regime. "Today Iraq; tomorrow Cuba!"
No uprising occurred. Indeed, despite loud headlines and lead stories in
the U.S. mainstream media of impending crisis, Cubans behaved with calm
when the man who has presided over their destiny for 47 and a half years
went under the knife.
NPR reporter Tom Gjelten, in Cuba during the Non Aligned Movement meeting,
predicted the next Cuban leader would have to fulfill the Cubans' demand
for more consumer goods. Did he take a poll and forget to mention it? How
did he determine how the population would react to the post-Fidel government?
The CIA shared the media's vapid ignorance on Cuba. Former Agency Cuba
expert Brian Latell opined: "It cannot even be said with confidence that
Raul [Castro] will want to be more than a transitional leader. Raul will
not enjoy the pounding pressures and crises that make Fidel's adrenaline
surge and typically induce his best thinking."
Latell never met Raul, or Fidel; nor has he visited Cuba.
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