Dec 17, 2014: I was landing in Cuba, as Raul Castro announced, for the first time ever in the history of the Cuban Communist history, that he appreciated something the Americans did. “What was it?” I thought when I heard him speak in the radio. “And how would have Fidel felt about Raul saying this?”
In his short but sweet speech, Raul informed the Cuban people that him and Obama had agreed on restoring diplomatic relationship. In other words, they were hand-sharing on being friends again.
As a Cuban, I was shocked. This was the first time in the history of the Cuban Revolution our government showed any appreciation or respect for anything Americans did. Also, as a side comment, it was the first time in history anything Raul Castro said gave anyone in Cuba goose bumps.
As soon as Raul’s speech ended, all the Cubans-in-Cuba sprinted to the shops to buy a bottle of rum and celebrate the ending of such an archaic and unnecessary war. This was actually ‘news’ and in their heart they just knew this would mean a better life for them.
In the meantime, my phone (still connected to the Canadian internet) was bombarded with pushed notifications from Miami newspapers posting the full disagreement by Cuban-Americans who live there. They hated Obama’s position. They disagreed that allowing this old dying system to keep breathing would actually do any good to the Cuban people that, for now half a century have lived repressed.
All views and reactions from both sides were kind of obvious, but I could not help wonder about Fidel Castro’s reaction? How was he feeling about this?. Days passed and he did not make any statement. He was either in his death bed or totally oppose to what Raul had just done.
My guess, knowing what I know about Fidel: He would have not been so quick at sealing the deal with Obama. He would have provided a 12 hour long speech about Obama’s aim at befriending Cuba being a full-on imperialist attack. He would have reminded Cubans we were not to succumb to imperialist temptations as that would attempt against our sovereignty. He would have planted enough paranoia in the world’s heads about why Obama was doing this, he would have turn the world’s excitement into terror by the end of his speech.
Bottom line, under his watch, this friendship would have never happened. He would have totally left Obama’s hanging on that handshake. As he did it every time we came close to shaking hands with the “brutal and powerful enemy” as he used to often refer about them.
The thing is, they were never supposed to be a friend. But, “Why?” you would ask.
There is no evident reason for it. But there is! Becoming friends with United States could very well mean the end of the embargo. And the embargo was Fidel “limping stick”. The one and only one thing he had to blame for the repression and the economic destruction he caused to the island. Without the embargo all Cuba’s economic faults would be his, and only his.
And that was never the plan. For that reason, I bet anything in this world that that day, he would have completely delivered a different speech than Raul did.
But that’s only my guess. If Fidel Castro is still alive, he will tell us someday how he feels about this.
Let’s wait and see.