Cuba: FidelWatch

The Miami Herald's RSS feed is buzzing today with reports of Miami's Cuban community and their anticipation of the death of Fidel Castro, in light of Castro's announcement yesterday that he was temporarily ceding presidential power to his brother Raúl “due to ‘an intestinal crisis with sustained bleeding’ that required ‘complicated surgery’.” Martin at Blogbat posts photos of Cubans in Miami waving flags and placards from the windows of cars. Scores of bloggers throughout the world, of all political persuasions, are posting about Castro, of course; but of the Cuba-based bloggers on my blogroll, only Zenia of, a journalist based in Pinar del Rio, notes the incident, writing (ES) early this morning that:

A proclamation from Fidel bearing his signature was just read on national television, saying that the Second Secretary of the Central Committee of the Party, Raúl Castro, would be taking over his duties on a provisional basis, due to his convalescence from intestinal surgery.

The document was read at 9:15pm and left additional instructions about the principal programs of health and education, to name a few.

Mácrom habita… El Árbol Hueco posts a copy of the proclamation (ES), along with some get well wishes and expressions of solidarity (and here's an English-language translation of the proclamation from Cuban newspaper Granma).

Solana Larsen, a “Danish-Puerto Rican journalist/activist” based in New York, manages to catch an interview with the president of the Cuban parliament on a visit this morning to a hardware store, and notes that:

Reportedly, no one in Cuba seems [to think] he will die yet (80th birthday celebration postponed until December) but the international media is awash with speculations he might croak. . . .

As unhappy as some Cubans are about the political situation, I have yet to meet anyone in Cuba who think the United States holds the solution to their problems. More common (if unlikely) were fears that the US would somehow turn Havana into the next Baghdad when Castro dies.

Considering the beleaguered history between these two countries, it’s simply impossible to believe the US truly has the best interests of Cubans at heart. Even the guy at the hardware store shook his head and muttered, “The US trades with China, Eastern Europe, with everyone. But they just let those people in Cuba suffer.”

As you can imagine, rumors are rampant right now within circles of the Cuban-American community,” writes Cuban-American blogger Babalu , who has been posting regular updates with links to other blogs and news sources, including one from Redstate indicating that yesterday's statement by the Cuban government may have been made after the surgery and not before. “This,” says Babalu, “is an interesting development indeed.”

Jeremy Taylor, writing from Trinidad, offers a Caribbean's-eye-view perspective:

The coming transition in Cuba is going to be very significant for the Caribbean. With 11 million people, the island has twice the population of all the English-speaking Caribbean states put together. A de-revolutionised Cuba would present an enormous new market and give every tourism operation in the region some very serious competition. And if the US invoked a military option to reverse more than fifty years of Castroism, well . . . who knows what turmoil the Caribbean could find itself in?


  • […] I got blogged on Global Voices and Slate yesterday. My stats spiked. […]

  • […] It’s unlikely that Cuban president Fidel Castro will be any less of a polarising figure in death than he’s been over the course of his long and colourful political career. Since the announcement of his illness and the passing of power to his brother Raúl at the end of July 2006, Castro’s state of health has been a closely guarded secret, the silence punctuated by occasional — and conflicting — reports coming through channels such as a Spanish news daily and Venezuelan president (and close Castro ally) Hugo Chávez. […]

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