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Sunday, March 26, 2023

The world waits for more news about Fidel Castro’s Health

By Ardain IsmaCSMS Magazine Staff WriterSince Fidel’s personal secretary, Carlos Valenciaga, announced on Cuba’s State TV last night that Fidel had “suffered intestinal bleeding brought on by the stress of recent travel,” the whole world has been on high alert, wanting to find out what is happening to the man who, for more than 40 years,  have successfully led the drive to give Cuba a respectable seat on the world stage. According to the announcement last night, Fidel underwent surgery in the abdomen to stop a bleeding. Is he stable after surgery? Are his conditions worsening? What is going to happen to the Cuban revolution? These are some of the questions being posed by the media to many of the so-called experts on Cuba.            Last week, Fidel visited Argentina for a regional summit and traveled to Cuba’s southern coast for the July 26 holiday that celebrates the birth of the Cuban revolution.  Television footages showed him a bit frail, but firm, which is perfectly normal for a man of his age. He turns 80 on August 13. The government released no immediate report on the results of the operation and said only that El Comandante was expected to be hospitalized and recovering for several weeks.             Despite all the frenzy (media and Cuban exiles) being trumpeted in both Miami and New Jersey, the two main bastions of Cuban immigrants in the United States, it is fair to say that any “succession of power in Cuba will be done in a smooth and peaceful way,” according to Jaime Lushinky, director of the Cuban Institute  at Florida International University.            Jaime, himself a Cuban immigrant, admitted last night on WPLG channel 10 that “Cuba has a well-disciplined security apparatus and the most disciplined army in Latin America.” And the announcement that Raul Castro, 75, would assume the leadership during the president’s surgery and recovery underscored recent signals that Cuban officials have been contemplating how the country will be run after Fidel dies. The announcement also said that Raoul Castro, Fidel’s younger brother, would assume his duties as president, commander in chief of the armed forces and head of the Communist Party. It also suggested that celebrations planned for his 80th birthday, including concerts and toasts by leading leftists from around the world, should be postponed until Dec. 2, the 50th anniversary of the Cuban armed forces.            In Washington, where opposition to Castro has been nothing but an open secret for years, White House spokesman Peter Watkins said, “We can’t speculate on his health at this time.” But, he added, “we continue to work for the day of Cuba’s freedom.” In Little Havana last night, the party dragged on until wee hour in the morning.               It might be premature to celebrate. No one is going to live forever, and a possible death of Fidel would not in any way mean the end of the Cuban revolution, as Miami Herald journalist and staunch critic of Cuba, Andres Hopenheimer confirmed in CNN  this morning. Castro disparaged a CIA report last year that said he suffered from Parkinson’s, saying Washington had “tried to kill me off so many times” and insisting that he had never felt better.            Fidel himself joked about his mortality in an interview several months ago with a French journalist in which he acknowledged that his brother was also getting on in years and that the leadership eventually would probably pass to younger Communist Party cadres.            Felipe Perez Roque, Cuba’s foreign Minister, who is in his 40s and is among the most well-prepared of the younger members of the leadership, and Vice President Carlos Lage Davila, in his early 50s, are often “mentioned as potential successors once a transition leadership shepherds Cuba into a post-Fidel era,” according to Los Angeles Times.  President Fidel Castro has kept himself relatively fit. He regularly shows up on state TV to criticize the U.S. and rally his countrymen to the cause of solidarity amid economic hardships and what he portrays as “imminent U.S. plans to invade and subjugate the island.”            Reuters news agency has just reported that Ricardo Alarcon, the head of Cuba’s legislature, declared that “Fidel is far away from his last moment.” Shata Darlington, CNN reporter in Havana, also confirmed that news. In Argentina last week, during his trip to participate in the Mercosur trade bloc summit in Cordoba, he publicly expressed his admiration of other leftist leaders gathered to denounce U.S. trade policies. “He took bows with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has been offering like-minded Latin American leaders cheap oil to lift their economies.”            Cuba is by far the most modern and the most sophisticated country in Latin America. Cuba has the best education system, the best healthcare and constitutional job guarantee for all its citizens. All these rights were recognized and ratified by the Geneva Convention. Cuba has a biotech industry that is considered to be one of the best in the world, inventing products to cure diseases like malaria, meningitis etc… The Cuban government has given scholarship to students from all over the Caribbean, as part of a program designed to bring the country closer to the grand Caribbean family.            The Cuban revolution has been able to survive and thrive for so long is because in part for its nationalist element, rather than its Marxist component. Only a feeling of pride for national development can allow a country that has been under a United States economic embargo for more than 40 years to resist and develop to the level that it is today. Cuba has sent doctors to many Latin American and Caribbean countries, including Haiti, to help eradicate many diseases plaguing the developing world. One wonders what if Haiti were to achieve about one third of what Cuba has accomplished without any help from world bank or any other international institutions?     Aslo see: Castro’s trip to Argentina last week: http://www.csmsmagazine.org/news.php?pg=20060724I187

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