Havana Spins Revamp of Fidel Castro Brand

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus, in Cuba to sound out the country late last month, said they arrived at Castro's home to be greeted by his wife at the gate while her husband casually stood at the door.

And so the fog does seem to be finally lifting over where Castro is and his general condition -- semi-retired and no longer gravely ill -- though he still arrives every week or two at the Cimeq hospital in Siboney for treatment, according to staff there.

And it is lifting just as the sparring between Cuba and the United States over how to mend a half century of hostilities begins with the Obama administration.

Perhaps it is just a coincidence.

Some Mystery Remains

What actually ails Fidel Castro, his daily schedule and role within the Cuban government as it prepares for stepped up contact with the United States remains murky.

His brother and current Cuban President Raul Castro says he consults with Fidel on all important matters of state.

Castro of late has been writing daily on topics ranging from relations between the United States and Latin America to possible talks with the Obama administration. He is also said to be working on his memoirs.

Spanish doctor Jose Luis Garcia Sabrido, the only foreign physician known to have treated Fidel Castro and kept up to date on his condition, told the Argentine newspaper Perfil in November 2008 that his famous patient was doing just fine, words largely ignored at the time but that in hindsight ring true.

"Fidel is doing very well. He leads a normal life and could return to power if he wanted to. He has no physical or medical impediments," the doctor said, adding that Castro had entered "another stage in life" that was "more reflective."

"I believe he does not want to return (to power). He gave up power to a second group of officials he trusts and with whom he is very pleased," Garcia Sabrido said.

How much influence Fidel Castro still has is impossible to gauge, but it certainly is considerable.

"Raul is completely in control of the country and running the government. But Fidel is Fidel, the historic leader of the revolution to whom everyone feels deference," my best source says. "To the extent he can participate he is welcome to participate."

And that means Castro will play an important behind the scenes role in relations with the 11th U.S. president he has faced, assuming his health holds up.

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 7420836. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 7420836. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 7420836. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 7420836. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 7420836.
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...