Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Castro's legacy - by Raul Rivero

It is now over a week since Cuban television announced that Fidel Castro, who has ruled the island for 47 long years, was to undergo (or had undergone?) delicate surgery and therefore would delegate all his powers to his brother, Raul, and a small, select inner group.

Beyond that, we don’t really know much more.

The Cuban media, controlled by the regime, has provided no further information on Castro’s health, which is now considered, believe it or not, a “State secret”. As for Raul, who is supposed to be running the place, well, he is yet to make a public appearance of any sort.

Bizarre … but this is Cuba.

If we believe the Cuban media, Castro the Elder is recovering. And being Castro, this is not just your ordinary, run of the mill recovery from serious surgery. Never mind he is about to turn 80; the Cuban media say Castro’s recovery is nothing short of a miracle.

Meanwhile, you may want to read a most illuminating piece by Raul Rivero, published by the BCC as part of its coverage of Castro’s 80th birthday.

Rivero was among 75 dissidents handed down long jail sentences in 2003 after being accused by the regime of being a “mercenary”, the term used by Castro and his apologists for anyone who dares question what’s going on in Cuba.

Following international pressure, Rivero, who was originally a supporter of the revolutionary process, was released last year and forced into exile in Spain with his family. Most of his fellow prisoners are still behind bars.

“I now believe that the worst legacy of Castro’s government is the spiritual ruin of the Cuban nation,” Rivero told the BBC. “We now have a theatrical society whose script is written every day by the official press.”

Read the rest here. Highly recommended.
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