The Title, EVEN ON HIS WAY OUT, CASTRO IMPOSES HIS SINGULAR WILL, suggest the common tune that Fidel fans have been humming lately. Basically that he had the last laugh on the evil empire and the Miami Mafia by thwarting their plans to rebuild Cuba in their “own image”.
WASHINGTON -- There is little question that Fidel Castro, the "immortal revolutionary," is dying. But being Fidel, he is not doing it in the way most people would expect.
He is not doing it on time. Since he is now 80, Cuban-Americans in Miami have had years to await his ascension to revolutionary communist heaven. Surely his 80th birthday in August would have been a neat time to say, "Adios, companeros!"
Neither is he doing it on the fair and square. The "renowned Spanish surgeon" rushed to Cuba in the last few weeks, Jose Luis Garcia Sabrido, an intestinal specialist, turns out to be a personal friend of the Castro family. He was called in to give an upbeat report -- Castro does not have cancer, he attested -- apparently to buy some time for the transition to Raul Castro.
Once Fidel does die, there will be plenty of time to look forward. But for now, as he hovers in that half light that often incongruously clarifies, let us take a last look at this exceptional, ultimately destructive man.
As his biographer, I think of the man I interviewed five times and knew many years ago, in 1966 in Cuba. Oh, Fidel is surely the big, earthy, sensual, cold, authoritarian man that most people think of, but he is much more. Essentially, Fidel is incoherent. In my many long interviews with him (they would start at midnight and end at 9 in the morning), in Spanish, he never moved rationally from one subject to another. One minute it was Soviet aid, the next minute his new yogurt, the next his new brand of cows, the next the revolutions in Africa and Central America. Afterward, I'd always wonder, "Where's the lead?"
He tried all kinds of environmental changes, believing himself to be, along with everything else, a kind of rainmaker. He mixed breeds of cows, but the new breed failed. He planted coffee trees all around Havana, and they failed, too, because the soil was wrong for them. He built pyramids for special crops, and they withered. Behind his back, they called him the "dictator of the cows."
But at one thing, Fidel -- this angry son of an angry Gallego from Galicia in the north of Spain who came to Cuba to fight for Spain in 1898 -- was unusually adept. All things military were like second breaths to him. He had an uncanny instinct for danger, a polished personal radar for enemies closing in, and a hatred so ferocious it burned like a banshee's flame against the United States, whom he saw always and ever as Cuba's colonizer.
Concluding in this:
Today's world looks to pragmatic leaders, to economists, to men and women who know what to do. Doubtless, Cuba will fall to less interesting and more bourgeois people like this when Fidel finally does die -- if, of course, he does.
And that’s from a fan , someone who relishes Castro’s blind hatred for Americans and his 50 year crusade to “stick it to the man”.
So the pattern appears to be Fidel, the firebrand, the revolutionary, the genius who failed at everything but he was a thorn on the side of the US to the end...gotta love that in a dictator.