Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fidel Castro in the spotlight again. Why now?

Fidel Castro in Artemisa. Photos: CubaDebate

In Artemisa on Saturday, Fidel Castro honored rebels killed during the attack on the Moncada barracks on July 26, 1953, in Santiago de Cuba.
This is Castro's first known public appearance outside Havana since July 2006. It is the latest in a string of appearances and has many people wondering whether the former president will attend the big event on Monday celebrating the 57th anniversary of the Moncada assault.
The Moncada attack marked the beginning of the Cuban revolution and is one of the biggest holidays of the year for the socialist government.
Castro's appearances raise many questions. Why is the former Cuban president going public now? And what did he mean on Saturday when he said:
Un año como el actual, en que nos aproximamos cada día más a dramáticos acontecimientos, me siento obligado a recordar a los valerosos compañeros encerrados en las prisiones de alta seguridad de Estados Unidos.
The words - dramáticos acontecimientos - dramatic events - caught my eye. Does Castro have something planned? Are his appearances leading up to something bigger?
So many questions, but one of the biggest is why has Fidel Castro chosen to raise his profile now?
I can't imagine that his appearances aren't part of a broader strategy. Fidel Castro is a strategist. He's a chess player. He plans many moves ahead.
So what is he up to?
Many Cubans wonder about the direction of the country. They have questions and Raul Castro does not always answer them.
When older brother Fidel was president, he was known as one of the most talkative leaders on earth. He was in the Cuban media all the time, talking, describing, explaining, trying to convince.
The Cuban people went from that style to the low-key approach of Raul Castro, who has got to be one of the least talkative heads of state around.