Friday, September 10, 2010 at 7:32 AM
Former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro seems to be recovering from the gastrointestinal problems that nearly killed him a few years ago in a manner that is worthy of Lazarus. Indeed, nothing demonstrated his miraculous triumph over the Grim Reaper quite like his donning army fatigues, instead of track suits, again.
Yet, in the United States, coverage of the medical marvel Castro has become pales in comparison to coverage of his political musings that are being published on a regular basis lately. And it’s in this latter respect that he stirred quite a sensation, if not a lot of consternation, with statements he reportedly made during a recent interview with The Atlantic.
The Cuban model doesn’t even work for us anymore.
(The Atlantic, September 8, 2010)
But, frankly, I do not know what the sensation or consternation is all about. After all, Castro is merely admitting in words what he and his brother Raul have been admitting in deeds for years. Specifically, like their Russian and Chinese patrons, they have been eschewing the communist model of economic development in favor of the capitalist one.
In fact, the only thing newsworthy about this interview is what Castro did not say. Because, despite his admission and all of the capitalist reforms the Castros are implementing, he gave no hint that he now believes that his socialist revolution, which he has championed for over 50 years, is a complete and utter failure.
But I knew it would be thus. For here’s how I commented on this stealth transition away from his “Cuban model” over four years ago:
I predict that the pragmatic Raul will emulate his new Chinese patrons by pursuing liberal economic policies while imposing even stricter political and military controls in Cuba.
(Dancing on Fidel’s grave is not only unseemly, it’s premature, The iPINIONS Journal, August 2, 2006)
And, given that the Chinese have managed to maintain totalitarian political control while building a capitalist economy that is the envy of the world, is it any wonder the Castros are seeking to emulate them?
By contrast, what is truly newsworthy is the extent to which Fidel seems to be atoning for his rhetorical sins. Because he has made a point in recent months of proselytizing the pacifist philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi instead of fomenting the revolutionary philosophy of Vladimir Lenin – for which he was notorious.
Indeed, nothing is more curious in this respect than the way Castro is not only beseeching world leaders to pursue nuclear disarmament but also publicly rebuking his presumptive ally, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for his anti-Semitic rhetoric. In fact, here’s how he expressed informed compassion for the Jews during the interview referenced above:
The Iranian government should understand that the Jews were expelled from their land, persecuted and mistreated all over the world… I don’t think anyone has been slandered more than the Jews. I would say much more than the Muslims. They have been slandered much more than the Muslims because they are blamed and slandered for everything. No one blames the Muslims for anything.
I don’t know if all of this reflects a belated political awakening or is just an elaborate ploy by an old man for spiritual absolution. In any case, my progressive disposition and Christian faith compel me to welcome his (rhetorical) conversion.