Saturday, February 28, 2009

The mysterious life of Fidel Castro

The Web site, Secretos de Cuba, says that Fidel Castro lives in the home, above, with the swimming pool. He and his wife grow tomatoes and other produce in the greenhouse shown just below the home, the Web site says.
In January, Hugo Chavez said the Fidel Castro who "walked the streets and town ... in his uniform and hugging the people, will not return. That will remain in memory."
Then yesterday, Chavez reported the latest: Castro took a stroll. He evidently appeared in public near the seaside town of Jaimanitas, not far from the comandante's compound on the western side of Havana. Chavez said:
Fidel went out and they saw him, Fidel walking in the streets in Havana. A miracle. The people cried.
Castro wasn't in uniform. But he walked the streets. It's unclear precisely when and where, and Cuban officials aren't commenting. But some residents are confirming the sighting.
A fisherman told one reporter, " this country, anyone can identify Fidel no matter how far away he is."
He said the person he saw was wearing an athletic uniform - "the same one that's come out in the photos and videos, with the three colors of the Cuban flag."
The fisherman, quoted in this story, said Fidel had two people at his side. "They looked like doctors or something like that."
If true, this would be Castro's first public appearance since July 2006.
Chavez said he's seen photos showing Castro during his outing and considers himself "privileged."
One day, I imagine that at least some photos of Castro's stroll will be public. I get the sense that Castro and his supporters are managing every detail of the historical record for posterity's sake.

A wider view of the Castro compound, from WikiMapia. Search for Punto Cero to find it.
I haven't done any research into the kind of life that Castro has led since suddenly falling ill. It's known that he reads voraciously. He writes essays. He meets some foreign heads of state. My guess is that he follows a strict diet and exercises regularly. But I don't know much beyond that. And I can understand why some secrecy is necessary. Just consider all the assassination attempts.
But some anti-Castro activists want to shed as much light as possible on Castro, pointing out, for instance, where he is thought to live.
One site - Secretos de Cuba - even notes the spot where Castro's security guards supposedly machine-gunned and killed four Mexicans who were in a car and inadvertently turned onto the road that leads to Castro's compound. I don't know if it's true or just an urban legend. But the Internet, the Web, is full of this kind of stuff.
Secretos de Cuba also displays an aerial photo of Castro's compound, showing the precise layout of his house and pointing out the greenhouse where he and his wife supposedly grow tomatoes. Some of the information is so detailed that it seems credible.

The supposed greenhouse

Along the Malecon's Fidel Castro Page - (Fidel Castro: Born 1926 - Still Kickin' in 2009)


Anonymous said...

That's out in Siboney behind Jaimanitas. When we first got here we were out driving around and exploring. We thought we'd gotten lost, so I did a u-turn in the middle of an empty back country road near one of the corners shown in those photos in Secrets of Cuba. We drove about 50 meters before a Cuban soldier with an AK-47 stepped out of the woods and told us to pull over, saying u-turns on that street were not allowed. We had to wait for the local cops to show us, who made us drive off about 2 miles before they'd even talk to us and reprimand me for not seeing the faded "No U-Turn" sign in the road. They let us go, but it was certainly strange.

alongthemalecon said...

Wow, what an experience! At least you got out of there in one piece. Not a great spot for country drives.
I once took my dogs on a walk in the countryside east of Havana. I was trying to get away from people so the dogs could run around without a leash. All the sudden, the dogs bolted, ran about 100-150 yards, disappeared over a hill and came upon a herd of goats. It turns out the goats were on or near a military post. One of the dogs evidently killed one of the goats. I tried to approach to settle up and pay for the goat, but the soldiers waved me off. So I took the dogs - one of them bloody from the goat - and went home.