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How Does Fidel Castro See Cuba’s New Era with the USA?
December 22, 2014
By Isaac Risco (dpa)

HAVANA TIMES — Where is Fidel Castro? The total absence in public of the
former Cuban president begins to generate questions days after the
governments of Washington and Havana announced a landmark agreement to
resume their relations.

Fidel has not published a single line since Wednesday, the day that his
brother Raul Castro and US President Barack Obama made known before the
cameras the most important turn in half a century in the turbulent
relations between the two countries.

Neither have the Cuban authorities released any images of Fidel. It is
not known, for example, if Castro has seen the “Cuban Five”,
intelligence agents arrested in 1998 in the United States and now all
back in Havana. The veteran revolutionary, now 88, made the cause of the
Cuban Five an emblem of his feud with Washington.

The last three former spies arrived on Wednesday to Havana after being
released as part of the agreement between Obama and Raul Castro, after
months of secret negotiations. Since then, the Cuban Five have taken
part in several public events in Havana.

Cubans are actually accustomed to the absence of Fidel Castro. The
former president is long retired from public life. The last time he was
seen outside his home was in January this year when he unexpectedly
visited an art gallery. Photos of the Cuban leader bent by age were seen
around the world.

His silence during the last five days has raised eyebrows, especially
when the eyes of the world are on the island.

“He will write a ‘reflection’ soon, of course he will,” believes Rogelio
Cutiño, a 52-year-old musician on the Malecon, the famous seaside
promenade of the Cuban capital.

“He always comes out. He said they (the Cuban Five) would return and
they did,” chimes in Mario Martin, 64, alluding to a phrase of Fidel
Castro that became a slogan for the cause of the Cuban Five throughout
the last decade.

The questions also revolve around the role Fidel may have played in the
rapprochement with his old ideological enemy. Although out of office
since 2006, on the island it seems inconceivable that Fidel Castro has
not been privy to the negotiations between his brother and Obama.

“I’m sure he’s very happy and must have taken part in all these
decisions,” his niece, Mariela Castro, told CNN last week.

Raul Castro’s daughter, a known activist for the rights of sexual
minorities in Cuba and a member of parliament, was also convinced that
her uncle “will at any time write one of his usual ‘reflections”.

Since a severe intestinal illness forced him from power in 2006, Fidel
Castro lives in retirement at his home on the western side of Havana,
dedicated to his studies and his avid habit of following international
news, the official press has noted in the past.

The former president also occasionally writes his “reflections”, opinion
pieces that are immediately published in “Granma” and the other official
media.

However the ‘reflections’ have become increasingly scarce. Fidel’s
latest articles, published in mid-October, praised the Cuban
contribution to the fight against Ebola in Africa. A few days earlier he
had also written a text on an editorial in “The New York Times”, which
now seems more like a premonition.

The newspaper is a “press organ that under certain circumstances
outlines patterns on the most appropriate political line for the
interests of its country,” wrote Castro, on the article in the
influential newspaper that called for an end to the embargo on Cuba.

So was Fidel Castro aware of the negotiations? That is a question that
perhaps he himself will soon clear up. For now, he’s ceded the political
leadership to his brother.

Source: How Does Fidel Castro See Cuba’s New Era with the USA? – Havana
Times.org – http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=108099

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