Re: Castro says he's not healthy enough to campaign for elections
- From: fred@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2008 22:02:35 -0500
This is pretty accurate, PL, you surprise me. I want to add that we
should probably post the whole of the release he has written. So here
An Epiphany Gift, Reflection by Cuban President Fidel Castro Ruz
The wires made the announcement ahead of time. On January 6th we
learned of Bush's trip to the Middle East, just as soon as his very
Christian Christmas holiday break was over. He would be going to Muslim
territory, lands having a different religion and culture from that of
the Europeans, who converted to Christianity, declared war on the
infidels, in the 11th century A.D.
The Christians themselves killed each other, both for religious
reasons and national interests. It seemed that everything had been
overcome by history. Religious beliefs remained that should be
respected, the same as their legends and traditions, whether Christian
or otherwise. On this side of the Atlantic, as in many parts of the
world, children anxiously awaited every 6th of January, gathering
enough hay for the camels bringing the Three Wise Men. I also shared
in these hopes during the early years of my life, asking those three
fortunate Wise Men for the impossible, with the same wishful thinking
that some compatriots expect miracles from our determined and dignified
I am not physically apt to speak directly to the citizens of the
municipality where I was nominated for our elections next Sunday. I do
what I can: I write. For me, this is a new experience: writing is not
the same as speaking. Today, that I have more time to inform myself
and to meditate about what I see, I have barely enough time to write.
One always expects good tidings; bad tidings tend to surprise and
demoralize us. Being prepared for the worst is the only way to be
prepared for the best.
It seems unreal to see Bush, the conqueror of other peoples' raw
materials and energy resources, setting out guidelines for the world
careless about how many hundreds of thousands or millions of people die
or how many clandestine prisons and torture centers must be created to
attain his objectives. "Sixty or more corners of the world" must
expect pre-emptive attacks. Let us not shut our eyes; Cuba is one of
those dark corners. The head of the empire said that in just so many
words and I have warned the international community of this on more
than one occasion.
In Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, a few miles
from Iran, AP says that "The President of the United States, George W.
Bush said Sunday that Iran is threatening the security of the world,
and that the United States and Arab allies must join together to
confront the danger before it's too late.
"Bush has accused the Teheran government of funding terrorists,
undermining stability in Lebanon, and sending weapons to the Taliban,
the Afghan religious militia. He added that Iran is trying to
intimidate its neighbors with alarming rhetoric, defying the United
Nations and destabilizing the region as a whole by refusing to be open
about its nuclear program."
"'Iranian actions threaten the security of nations everywhere'
Bush said. Therefore, the United States is strengthening our
long-range commitments to security with our friends in the Persian Gulf
and calling on our friends to confront this danger."
"Bush spoke at the Emirates Palace Hotel, built at a cost of 3
billion dollars, and where a suite costs 2,450 dollars a night. It is
one kilometer from end to end and has a 1.3 kilometer white sand beach.
According to Steven Pike, spokesman of the of the US Embassy in the
United Arab Emirates, every grain of sand on this beach was imported
The entire world knows that he wants war against Iran, it is his
war. Furthermore, he promises that U.S. troops will remain in Iraq for
at least 10 more years.
What is worse is that the main candidates of the two parties in
line to succeed him are incapable of remedying this. Not one of them
dares to even slightly contest this imperial practice, which is based
on the excuse of fighting terrorism, an evil engendered by the system
itself and its colossal and unsustainable consumerism, while striving
for the impossible: sustained growth, full employment and no inflation.
These were not the dreams of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and
Abraham Lincoln; nor were they the dreams of those great dreamers
throughout humanity's turbulent history.
Whoever has the time to read and analyze the news coming in on the
Internet, cable and in books, can ascertain the contradictions to which
the world has been driven.
In an article run by El País, a widely read Spanish newspaper, the
subject of the prices of food and fuel are dealt with. Signed by Paul
Kennedy, professor of history and director of International Security
Studies at Yale University and one of the country's most influential
intellectuals, the article states that "oil is the greatest element of
dependency for the United States in terms of external forces."
"By the mid-18th century, Great Britain had the largest
shipbuilding industry in the world. Yet, as its yards were launching
hundreds if not thousands of sailing ships each year, certain English
inventors were creating the magic of the steam engine, which used vast
amounts of energy secured in the especially bituminous depots of South
Wales. The steam and coal engine carried the British Empire onward for
another 150 years."
Later on he indicates the point of view that is most interesting
for us: the ever-greater interconnection between oil and foods. The
reasons are well-known: the enormous energy demands of the large Asian
economies and the inability of the wealthiest countries -the United
States, Japan and Europe- to reduce their consumption.
"But global soy bean demand is also spiraling upward, again,
chiefly due to the rising consumption in Asia; China's tens of millions
of pigs devour an awful amount of soy bean meal in a year. The soy bean
futures prices are 80 percent higher this year (December 2007) than
"No one can be certain of that, but the continued increases in
overall world population, and the surge in real incomes for more than
two billion people over the recent past, will surely translate into
ever-greater demand for the world's protein: for more beef, more pork,
more chicken, more fish, and thus for more grains to feed them."
The Yale professor might as well have added: more eggs and more
milk, since their production requires considerable amounts of fodder.
But a little later, he alludes to an article published in The
Economist, the main newspaper of European finance, describing it as
"highly detailed, impressive and very scary"; it is entitled "The End
of Cheap Food". "That magazine began its food-price index way back in
1845. The price index is higher today than in anytime in its entire 162
Brazil, which is now self-reliant in fuel and has abundant
reserves, will doubtlessly escape this dilemma. Stretching on a
plateau at 300 to 900 meters altitude, it is 77 times bigger than Cuba.
This sister republic enjoys 3 different climates. Almost every food
can be grown there. It is no hit by tropical hurricanes. Together with
Argentina, they could save the peoples of Latin America and the
Caribbean, including Mexico, although they could never guarantee
security for them because they are at the mercy of an empire which will
not allow that union.
Writing, as many people know, is an instrument of expression that
lacks speed, tone and the intonation of spoken language, and it doesn't
use gestures. It also takes several times our scarce available time.
Writing has the advantage that it can been done at any time, day or
night, but one doesn't know who will read it; very few can resist the
temptation to improve it, to include what was not said or to cross out
what was said; sometimes one has the urge to throw it all in the waste
basket since you don't have the interlocutor there in front of you.
All my life I have transmitted ideas about events as I was seeing them,
from the darkest ignorance until today when I have more time available
and I have the possibility of observing the crimes being committed
against our planet and our species.
To the youngest of our revolutionaries, in particular, I recommend
to be extremely demanding with themselves and to observe an iron-clad
discipline. They should avoid being ambitious for power, presumptuous
or boasters. They should be watchful about bureaucratic methods and
mechanisms and avoid succumbing to simple slogans. They should
recognize bureaucratic procedure for the worst obstacle they are and
use science and computation without falling prey to the excessively
technical and unintelligible jargon of the elitist specialists. They
should always be hunger for knowledge; and perseverance, and both
physical and mental exercises should be part of their lives.
In this new era in which we live, capitalism is not even a useful
instrument. It is like a tree with rotten roots, from whence only the
worst forms of individualism, corruption and inequality sprout. Nor
should we give away anything to those who could be producing and who
don't produce, or who produce very little. Reward the merits of those
who work with their hands or their minds.
Just as we have universalized higher education, we must also
universalize simple physical labor; it helps us to at least carry out a
part of the infinite investments demanded by everyone, as if there was
an enormous reserve of money and labor force. Be especially wary of
those inventing State enterprises with just any excuse and then
managing the easy profits as if they had been capitalists all their
lives, sowing egoism and privileges.
Until we become aware of such realities, no effort can be made, as
Martí would have said, to "timely prevent" that the empire which he saw
surging up, living as he did in its entrails, may destroy the future of
We must be dialectic and creative. There is no other possible
We are grateful for Bush playing his part as one of the Wise Men,
visiting the place where the son on the carpenter Joseph was born, if
truly someone knows where the exact spot of that humble crib is, where
the Nazarene was born. The leader of the empire bears the gift, this
time, of tens of billions of dollars to the Arab countries to buy
weapons that come from the industrial-military complex; and at the same
time, two dollars for every one supplied to them to arm the state of
Israel, where the United Nations agency which tackles the subject
assures us that 3.5 million Palestinians have been deprived of their
rights or expelled from their territory.
His obsessive instrument is to threaten the world with nuclear
war. Only he is capable of bearing this Epiphany Gift.
Fidel Castro Ruz
January 14, 2008.
On Wednesday 16 January 2008 17:05, PL wrote:
Castro says he's not healthy enough to campaign for electionshttp://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/cuba/sfl-116castro,0,4921052.story
11:10 AM EST, January 16, 2008
HAVANA - Fidel Castro said Wednesday he is not yet healthy enough to
speak to Cuba's people in person and can't campaign for Sunday's
``I am not physically able to speak directly to the citizens of the
municipality where I was nominated for our elections next Sunday,''
the ailing 81-year-old wrote in an essay published Wednesday by state
Castro's latest essay focused on blasting U.S. President George W.
Bush, but included references to the Cuban leader's health.
It was published on the front pages of state-run newspapers a day
after Castro met for more than two hours with Brazilian President
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who said Castro
appeared healthy enough to return to politics.
``I think Fidel is ready to take over his historic political role in
this globalized world, in humanity,'' Silva told reporters as he left
Cuba late Tuesday. He did not suggest what role that might be.
Castro, however, expressed frustration in his essay: ``I do what I
can: I write. For me, this is a new experience: writing is not the
same as speaking.''
Castro has not been seen in public since July 2006, when emergency
intestinal surgery forced him to cede power to a provisional
government headed by his younger brother Raul, five years his junior.
Raul Castro addressed a crowd of voters on Dec. 24 in the brothers'
home district in the eastern city of of Santiago, saying he was
filling in for his brother. But Wednesday's essay was the first time
the older Castro has acknowledged he is not well enough to campaign
Though he stepped aside as Cuba's active president, Castro remains
head of the Council of State. Re-election to the legislature, or
National Assembly, is a necessary step if he is to continue to run the
Castro looked frail but upbeat and even playful in official photos of
his meeting with Silva. Wearing a track suit and tennis shoes _ which
have replaced olive-green fatigues as his standard uniform _ Castro is
seen seated and grinning, his beard well-trimmed and his hair combed
as he talks with Brazil's president At one point, he even pretends to
snap pictures with a small camera.
``My feeling is that Fidel is in very good health, that he's as lucid
as he's ever been,'' Silva said.
The Brazilian president said politicians were like athletes who need
to stay active.
Cuba's government has not given details about Castro's illness or
where he is being treated. Tuesday's were the first photos released of
Castro since October, during one of his many meetings with his
socialist ally, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Castro suggested in a letter last month he would not cling to power
forever or stand in the way of a younger generation of leaders. But he
also mentioned the example of a Brazilian architect who is still
working at 100 and has not said when _ or even if _ he will
permanently step aside.
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