Is Castro pretty much done? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-02-2006, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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Is Castro pretty much done?

Dude didn't even show his face for his 80th birthday celebration (as part of a military parade, go figure!).

Is he even really still alive? Who's the next power-hungry communist leader for Cuba?

I think my favorite part of the article is the indication they want to discourage us from invading while Fidel is ill. It's almost laughable that they think that's a possibility. Or that their meager display would discourage the US military if they trained their Sauron-esque eye in that direction.

Also strange is they continue to parrot the logic that they'd love to negotiate the lifting of embargos, etc. I'm no diplomat but I was under the impression that if they back away from communism today, we're there tomorrow with all the help we can provide. Although I am encouraged that they at least make references to a democratic Cuba. Hmmmm... what is blowing in the wind down there, anyway?

Castro's absence raises more questions

By ANITA SNOW, Associated Press Writer

Fidel Castro was a no-show Saturday at a major military parade that doubled as his 80th birthday celebration, raising questions about whether the ailing leader will ever return to power as his public absence begins taking on a tone of permanence.

Many Cubans had hoped for at least a glimpse of Castro before dozens of olive-camouflaged tanks rumbled through the Plaza of the Revolution and jet fighters soared above the capital to mark the 50th anniversary of the formation of Cuba's Revolutionary Armed Forces.

Castro hasn't been seen in public since July 26, before he underwent secretive intestinal surgery and temporarily ceded power to his younger brother, Raul. He delayed his 80th birthday celebration from Aug. 13 to this week in order to give himself time to recover, and speculation had been rife whether he would appear.

The military event, which lasted about two hours, culminated five days of events to celebrate Castro's birthday — none of which he attended.

Instead, it was Raul Castro, the island's defense minister, who stood at the mahogany lectern reviewing the troops during Saturday's parade.

The parade's most obvious purpose was to warn the U.S. against taking advantage of Fidel Castro's illness to attack the island. In the last 15 years the Cuban military has taken on a purely defensive role, and is trained to repel invaders.

In a speech that lacked his brother's rhetorical flourishes, Raul Castro reached out to the U.S. government, which has a decades-old trade and travel embargo against the communist-run island. He did not explain the absence of his brother.

"We take this opportunity to once again state that we are willing to resolve at the negotiating table the long-standing dispute between the United States and Cuba," as long as the U.S. respects Cuba's sovereignty, said Raul Castro, who turned 75 in June.

"After almost half a century, we are willing to wait patiently until the moment when common sense prevails in Washington power circles," he added.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Janelle Hironimus said Saturday that "the dialogue that needs to take place is one between the Cuban regime and the Cuban people about the democratic future of the island.

"Any deepening of our engagement with Cuba depends on that dialogue and the Cuban regime's willingness to take concrete steps toward a political opening and a transition to democracy," she added.

Raul Castro used the event to underscore cohesion among the Cuban people, the armed forces and the Communist Party — a recurring theme among officials in recent days.

"This unity is our main strategic weapon, which has made it possible for this small island to resist and overcome so many aggressions from imperialism and its allies," he said.

Cuban officials insist Fidel Castro is recovering, but U.S. officials say they believe he suffers from some kind of inoperable cancer and will not live through the end of 2007. He has appeared thin and pale in photographs and videos released by the government in recent months.

Some U.S. doctors have speculated he could have diverticulosis, a condition relatively common among older people that is caused when weak spots form along the colon and intersect with an artery.

Fidel Castro purportedly sent a message to those celebrating his birthday earlier this week, telling a crowd of 5,000 supporters at the opening event Tuesday at a Havana theater that he was too sick to meet with them.

"I direct myself to you, intellectuals and prestigious personalities of the world, with a dilemma," said a note read at the event. "I could not meet with you in a small locale, only in the Karl Marx Theater where all the visitors would fit, and I was not yet in condition, according to the doctors, to face such a colossal encounter."

Magda Avila, a 70-year-old army veteran, said she was not disappointed the elder Castro did not appear at the parade. "It is fine that he didn't come, so that he can recuperate," she said.

In Miami, Alfredo Mesa, executive director of the anti-Castro Cuban-American National Foundation, said the leader's failure to appear was unimportant.

"For us, Fidel Castro is part of the past," Mesa said. "The pressure is on those who did appear, for them to let Cubans in Cuba decide for themselves what kind of future they want."

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said in Caracas that Castro, his good friend and ally, was still "alive and kicking" and that Cuba's communist revolution will live on. Chavez could not attend the parade because he faces re-election Sunday.

Among those at the parade were Bolivian President Evo Morales, Haitian President Rene Preval, Nicaraguan President-elect Daniel Ortega and Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, as well as hundreds of elderly former combatants from Cuba's revolutionary struggle.

In the first major military parade held in Havana in a decade, tens of thousands of Cubans marched behind anti-aircraft missiles, tanks and other armored vehicles while MiG fighter jets and helicopter gunships flew overhead. The crowd of loyalists was more subdued than in other mass events presided over by Fidel Castro.

Thousands of soldiers led the parade, including special forces in red berets, militiamen in blue uniforms and horseback riders wearing the white dress uniform of 19th century Cuban independence fighters.

Cuba's Revolutionary Armed Forces, which replaced the military that existed before the Cuban Revolution, traces its roots to Dec. 2, 1956, when 82 rebels landed on the island on a yacht — the Granma — that sailed from Mexico.

Only 12 survived the landing and initial skirmishes with President Fulgencio Batista's forces in December 1956. Among the survivors were the two Castro brothers and Ernesto "Che" Guevara, who headed for the hills to build a command post for the revolution that drove Batista out of Cuba on Jan. 1, 1959.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-02-2006, 04:00 PM
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The US has a notable problem with respecting other nation's sovereignty, so I doubt we could ever meet their very reasonable criteria for negotiations.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-02-2006, 04:12 PM
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Cuba is almost like the Gaza Strip and I have a feeling that no replacement leader will be good enough for us to accept as a negotiating member unless we place one there ourselves.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-02-2006, 07:04 PM
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He's toast. We'll have to suffer through another ten years or so of his brother next.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-02-2006, 07:09 PM
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Stashed his trash in Ecuador
Bought a good suit of clothes
Flew on up to Mexico
Standin' by the shore

Waitin' for some mystery man
To pay him for his time
But thinkin' about all the money he'd made
Couldn't help to ease his mind

Havana daydreamin'
Boy he's just dreamin'
His life away

His daddy chopped that sugar cane
One day he fell dead
Jesus had a wanderin' feelin'
Swimmin' around in his head

Sailin' on a midnight boat
There were no questions asked
The water so green and the air was so clean
He just stuck right to his task

Havana daydreamin'
Boy he's just schemin'
His life away

Ceilin' fan it stirs the air
Cigar smoke does swirl
The fragrance on the pillowcase
And he thinks about the girl

Spillin' wine and sharin' good times
She sure could make him smile
He pays her well but what the hell
He'll be movin' in a little while

Havana daydreamin'
Boy he's just dreamin'
His life away

Havana daydreamin'
Boy he'll be dreamin'
His life away
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-02-2006, 07:13 PM
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Hope we will have some diplomatic relationships with them soon. I heard the beaches there are great. I will be the first boat load of 'Merican tourists to hit the shore. Better yet, buy a beach front mansion for the price of a D.C. backyard storage shack :-)

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-02-2006, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by elau
Hope we will have some diplomatic relationships with them soon. I heard the beaches there are great. I will be the first boat load of 'Merican tourists to hit the shore.
WOAH, elau, you'd better lose some weight; if you're a whole boat load by yourself that could be ugly!....

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. (Winston Churchill)
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-02-2006, 07:28 PM
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Hey, you know what they say about 'Merica. Land of the dumb, fat and easy go lucky.

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