I hope I am wrong but ...
It’s been only a couple of hours since the news broke that after 18 months supposedly "recovering" from a serious illness, Fidel Castro is definitely standing down as president of the Council of State and as Commander in Chief.
Finally, they say. How does it feel? Next year in Havana! Yes?
They obviously all think that this is the end of the Castro era and the beginning of a new, hopefully democratic chapter in Cuban history. They are happy for me. They are excited. And I am moved by their generosity.
Even the timing seems perverse – an announcement published in Granma, in the middle of the night, while most Cubans are asleep. Way to wake up, Havana!
And anyway, does this mean that Castro will step dwon from all his posts? Does it mean he will remain head of the all-powerful Communist Party? Will he really retire and stop meddling from the sidelines, as he has been doing for the past 18 months? And what does he mean when he says that this is not a “farewell”? Why hasn’t he endorsed his own designated successor, Raul, no spring chicken at 75, as the next Comandante? Or is the dictator so sick after all that death is imminent?
See? So many questions.
I hope my friends are right, though. I hope it’s the beginning of a new chapter. I hope I am wrong and they are right.
As they say on television, only time will tell.