ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I'm Not Dead Yet...

... I'm feeling better.... really I am!

Why is it that everytime one of these tinpot dictators nears his all-too-human demise, his apparatchiks have to pretend that he's not dead or dying?

Castro's Final Moment 'Very Far Away'
Aug 01 4:45 PM US/Eastern

Associated Press Writer


Cuba's Communist government tried to impose a sense of normalcy Tuesday, its first day in 47 years without Fidel Castro in charge. A senior Cuban official insisted Castro's final moment was "very far away," despite his handing over power to his brother after surgery.

Parliament Speaker Ricardo Alarcon said the Cuban leader is known for fighting to the very end and that his "final moment is still very far away," the government's Prensa Latina news service reported.

Raul Castro, the island's acting president, was nowhere to be seen as Cubans began to worry about what comes next and exiles in Miami celebrated a development they hoped signaled the death of a dictator. Cuban dissidents kept a low profile while watching for signs of Castro's condition.

"Everything's normal here _ for the moment," said hospital worker Emilio Garcia, 41, waiting for a friend at a Havana hotel. "But we've never experienced this before _ it's like a small test of how things could be without Fidel."

The main newscast on state-run TV gave no details of the 79-year-old leader's condition, but ran a string of man-on-the-street interviews with Cubans wishing him well and professing confidence in the revolution's staying power. The anchor said Castro had the people's "unconditional support."

I seem to recall this same f-ing story when Arafat was pushing up daisies, right?

Meanwhile, this Kossack reports "from the front lines," reassuring her fellow Moonbats that the celebrations in Miami are not representative of how people in Havana feel. I hope this is written with tongue planted firmly in cheek, but for some reason I don't think it is. Extra funny bits emphasized :
The situation in Cuba, from someone who lives in Havana
by SneakySnu
Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 01:00:03 PM PDT

I'm writing this to provide a little more context to enlightened folks like yourselves about the current situation in Cuba. I do not have any privileged information, just observations as I live in Havana. My husband is a foreign service officer from a country that shall remain anonymous in this diary, but I am American. Though I paraphrase statements my husband has made here, any opinions expressed here are my own. To be honest, I have been reluctant to write about my experiences here, not so much because of possible monitoring by the Cuban government as by our own government.

I have satellite TV at home and have been monitoring CNN and MSNBC, since they have provided the most news to Americans about what's going on here. I am dismayed by the amount of attention given to the few dozen people who have gathered to celebrate in Miami. I've been keeping an eye on Cuban news as well, though no more information has been issued since last night's declaration. Several hours will be dedicated to Castro's condition and this temporary government this evening at 6:30 on a debate show called Mesa Redonda (Roundtable). I believe that the same information will be released in the newspaper Granma tonight or tomorrow, available online at

So, what's going on here? Not much. Everybody seems pretty calm, even nonplussed, about the situation. Cubans can't say what they really might be thinking to me; so far, the responses I've gotten are, "Well, he's old," and "It's so just strange because this has never happened before [referring to the handover of power]." They seem to be taking a wait-and-see attitude.
So, while celebrations continue in Miami, don't think for a second that there's some kind of excitement here. I don't get the sense that there is an undercurrent of unrest bubbling to the surface. Cubans have known for many years that Raul would be put in power in Fidel's place. The question is only how long he will remain there. As long as Fidel is alive, Raul is safe.

It is so difficult to explain in a short space what life under Castro is like here. I'm tempted to say something like, "It's not like those other dictatorships!" which of course is of little solace to anyone who believes in democracy. The political repression is very real, from the neighborhood watch groups that report on any potential anti-revolutionary activity to the long prison sentences for political dissidents, to the sudden disappearance of political figures who fall out of favor or are charged with corruption.

Cultural life, however, is very rich and full of possibilities for expression. Through government organs, there is a strong push for women's equality in all aspects of life (even though the government is dominated by men), as well as racial equality (though a subtle racism exists here too). Linked to the concern for health care, sexuality is openly discussed in newspapers and on TV. The successes here in education and health care should not be undermined because they truly create a sense of well being despite a lack of material goods and, occasionally, undernourishment. In fact, my biggest beef with this regime is food distribution. It doesn't seem to take enough precedence and doesn't proceed in any logical manner, even for us wealthy, dollar-wielding foreign types.

Despite the evident hardships, most people seem content, at least in Havana. I say this in an attempt to understand why people would choose to live under a politically repressive regime. There is a strong sense of family and community sharing. They work really hard, but have plenty of time for recreation, as I can tell from the baseball games constantly taking place in the field in front of my house; from the people power-walking and jogging along the Quinta Avenida; and from the kids who make the short trek from their houses to the ocean, dressed in their bathing suits.

Does that mean they wouldn't give up their bicycles and Soviet-era Lada cars for a new car in a heartbeat? Of course they would. But they are equally aware of the emptiness of a life based solely on consumerism, which is what they see of the U.S. And while I see many people here possessing an entrepreneurial spirit, I don't believe they're willing to give up the security that a socialist state offers.

Well, this is a pretty short and oversimplified sketch, but that's it for now. I've only got 30 hours per month of internet access, and I've already used over 2 today, which is why I won't be commenting extensively here. I'll try to respond to any questions you have though.


I hope the bastard rots in hell and the people of Cuba are finally given a chance to openly discuss political (and not just sexual) issues.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler