Fidel Gaining Strength and Health!
Imperialists Watching with Fear While He is coming Back Again!
By Tamara Hansen
"Cuba is at a critical point in its history… The country is poised for change. The policy of the Bush administration has been to help the Cuban people achieve their freedom through democratic change."
- Carlos Gutierrez, US Secretary of Commerce, speaking to the Council of the Americas
In July 2006, after undergoing an emergency operation- Fidel Castro - Commander-in-Chief of Cuba, provisionally handed over his responsibilities to the first Vice President of Cuba, Raul Castro.
I happened to be in Cuba when the news was announced that Fidel had had emergency surgery. Do you know what happened the next day in the capital city of the Holguin province where we were staying? Nothing, everything was the same as it had been the day before. Except at the Communist Party of Cuba offices, where different officials were wearing their military uniforms, symbolizing that with or without Fidel they were prepared to defend their country and their revolution.
US Wishful Thinking
This is a tense time for Cuba as less than a month before Fidel fell ill the United States released its second report from the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba. Some of the objectives of the commission are to, “Bring an end to the ruthless and brutal dictatorship [in Cuba]” and, “Assist the Cuban people in a transition to representative democracy.” This report set aside $80Million to work towards its goals and also contains a secret section, sealed off from the public. But we must ask, if you are already stating publicly that one of your objectives is to, “bring to an end the ruthless and brutal dictatorship” then what could you possibly need to hide? Obviously Cubans have fairly legitimate reasons to feel apprehensive about the US government and its commission’s promises for “representative democracy” for Cuba as they have all seen quite clearly what is happening with US “democracy” in Iraq.
Don’t Worry, Fidel is OK
The US government for some time was also trying to convince the world that Fidel had terminal cancer; but they haven’t used that argument much since December 2006 when Dr. Jose Luis Garcia Sabrido, the head of surgery at the Gregorio Maranon hospital in Spain, who is seen as more ‘objective’ or reliable than a Cuban doctor by international bourgeois media said, "He is in good condition. Within the confines of doctor-patient privilege, I can say President Castro is not suffering from a malignant condition." He continued, "He does not have cancer… He has a problem with his digestive system.”
The US government and media continue to try and paint Fidel as being on the verge of death, including an article by Reuters on January 17th 2007, which said, “a report in Spain's El Pais newspaper yesterday [said] that Castro was in serious condition after operations to his large intestine for diverticulitis, or an inflamed bulge in the intestine, complicated by infection. Castro's prognosis is "very serious" and he is being fed intravenously, the paper said, citing two medical sources at Madrid's Gregorio Maranon hospital, where Garcia Sabrido is head of surgery.”
This report and these “sources” were slammed a few days later when Fidel appeared on Cuban TV again with Hugo Chavez. Not even the Associated Press could deny that Fidel looked noticeably stronger and healthier. They said, “The communist government Jan. 30 released a new video of the leader that showed him looking as if he had gained strength and weight… Fidel had looked far more gaunt and pale during a video released by the government in late October.”
Sign of Stability: Smooth Transition in Leadership
The important question on everybody’s mind is always, what will happen in Cuba after Fidel? In many ways Fidel’s sudden surgery seems to be a good solid indicator showing how smoothly the government of Cuba can function in the absence of Fidel. It also shows that there is no real “pro-democracy” movement (looking to overthrow the revolution and embrace US capitalism) as the US has been claiming. When Fidel first had surgery many people were wondering if a civil war would break out in Cuba, with people rising up against the government as mainstream capitalist media propagated. Many of the same mainstream news stations were attempting to paint Cuba as a politically unstable country. But to their disappointment, as we have seen, Cuba has continued down its strong path towards a brighter future for humanity without Fidel directly in charge.
“The regime of Fidel Castro is not viable without Fidel Castro…A transition to democracy in Cuba is inevitable, but Fidel Castro needs to die for the future of Cuba to begin.”
Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, a Cuban-born Florida Republican
Today the media is asking, but what about when Fidel ACTUALLY dies? Will Fidel’s death really mean big changes and unrest? The US apparently thinks so, as they are preparing to use their Guantánamo Naval base in Cuba to house the fleeing Cubans they presume will run when Fidel dies. In fact the Department of Defense has reportedly planned to spend $18Million, US tax payer dollars, to expand the Guantánamo Bay facility to house these Cubans as they are estimating up to 500,000 may seek asylum. From the Guardian UK in February 2007, “As U.S. officials see it, the seismic political event for Cuba has yet to come. ‘’We don't feel that we've lost an important moment, because quite frankly, we don't see any significant possibility of change of any kind until Fidel is gone,’’ Tom Shannon, the top State Department aide for Latin America, says.”
An interesting analysis a friend of mine gave on this was – imagine – hundreds of thousands of Cubans have clandestinely hid boats and rubber dingy’s in their backyards and are turning on their radio every morning asking, ‘is he dead yet?’ Waiting for their chance to go to Guantánamo Naval base. Somehow this seems unrealistic and ridicules.
From the Associated Press on February 17th 2007, “Brian Latell, a former top Cuba analyst at the CIA, agrees and says Raul Castro has been acting more boldly than expected, encouraging debate among Cubans and calling on university students to ‘’fearlessly’’ discuss the country's problems… There is little evidence of pro-democracy ferment in Cuba. The answer to whether that reflects fear or contentment on the island depends on whom one asks. One visible indication of unrest is the single word that appears on occasional street signs: ‘’Cambio’’”
But what does “Change” written on a street sign in Cuba really symbolize? Isn’t the whole point of the Cuban revolution to make change? To stop systemic racism, sexism and homophobia; to provide jobs, healthcare and education to everyone in Cuba; and to stand up in the face of the US’ “war on terror” and say, no thank-you we do not need your “democracy” (we already lived through that in the 1950’s with the dictator you supported in our country, Batista).
These sentiments were echoed by his niece Mariela Castro Espin, who heads the national centre for Sex Education CENESEX, who said, “Fidel is stupendous… I imagine him returning and not returning, because one way or the other he is going to be present and very active.”
We are happy to hear of this slow but visible recovery by Fidel, we wish him a speedy recovery but know that with or without Fidel the Cuban revolution will continue because it is the will of people in Cuba. Here in Vancouver, BC and across Canada we will fight along side the Cuban people and continue to defend them against US-sponsored attacks and to defend the gains of their revolution.
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