And What Does Fidel Think?

File photo of Cuban President Castro attending May Day parade in Revolution Square

TICOBULL – More than a week since the announcement by Barack Obama, a man famous for his five hour speeches, Fidel Castro, the 88-year-old leader of the Cuban revolution, has remained surprisingly quiet.

Fidel, who seized power in 1959 with the help of Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos, ruled the country with an iron fist until his younger brother Raúl, 83, took over in 2006.

The silence on the restoration of dipolomatic relations between the United States and Cuba by the old Cuban president is in contrast to the torrent of reactions from all corners of the planet.

Since 2008 Fidel had not totally disappeared from public life, despite suffering from a long term ailment, he frequently commented on events and issued statements through Gramna, the Communist Party newspaper.

Fidel, since leaving office  in  2008, has kept himself busy publishing thoughts on whatever topics might interest him.  In September he fired his most recent salvo, stating that Islamic State was a creation of Israel and the US.

But, now on the ending of the Cold War with America, there is absolutely nothing from Fidel.

Fidel was last seen in public in January, when he attended the opening of an art gallery, accompanied by his wife of 34 years, Dalia Soto del Valle. Looking frail and walking with a stick, Fidel was accompanied by his doctors at the event. Prior to that, his last public appearance had been the previous April.

He was last photographed in August, dressed in a garish tracksuit for a meeting with Nicolas Maduro – president of Venezuela.

His silence on the biggest change in Cuban-American relations in over 50 years has puzzled many – although perhaps it can be understood given his age and failing health.

He could also be keen to show that his brother is the one in charge.

Yet all Cubans know that, behind the scenes, Fidel still wields significant influence.

“No one believes anymore that Fidel has any real influence over day-to-day policy,” said one western diplomat, speaking to the International Business Times. “But that doesn’t mean he is never consulted on big questions.”

Written by Rico


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