The bearded Castro is a loose cannon. He always has been. His behavior is unpredictable. Foreseeing his next move on the political chessboard is unimaginable even for people with the abilities of Nostradamus.
But something on the Cuban scene smells like it’s burning. There is a sort of forced cohabitation. Two-headed power. His brother, General Raul Castro, governs, but Fidel does everything possible to distract his management.
Castro I resists retirement. The only word is “Comrade Fidel.” In fact and law he remains the Only Commander. The glorious old man with delusions of being father of his country. The guy who sees more than anyone else. The world-class statesman.
A Caribbean soothsayer who equally predicts the path of a hurricane, the decline of U.S. imperialism, or his proverbial ability to foretell slaughters.
Now his laser points to a nuclear war between Iran and the Western nations. He is watching for it. Castro is a textbook narcissist. His gloomy reflections on the Middle East conflict interests no one in Cuba.
Ordinary people are focused on other things. On their own struggle. Trying to get two decent meals a day. And getting money however they can to buy clothes and shoes for their children and to repair their house.
Castro reappeared just at the moment everyone had forgotten him. For the first time since 2006 he hit the streets. The strategy was to overshadow the real news: the release of 52 political prisoners. He returned to fray at the same time that news was announced.
Then, when seven prisoners of conscience were flying towards Madrid, the old guerrilla came to the fore in a television interview, chatting and predicting misfortune in his new role of necromancer.
In local circles the emergence of Castro I is being called a desperate gesture of leadership. And it is evidence of tensions and disagreements with his brother Raul.
The signs are not new. The rebellious and unrestrained language of Fidel has placed the government of Castro II in more of a problem. He is like the senile grandfather that the family tries to give the best care, but at the first opportunity manages to put them through a public embarrassment with his incoherent behavior.
I have no doubt of the respect that Raul feels for the historical figure of Fidel. The General tries to manage the island in his image. But when he wants to disconnect from the policies of his predecessor, the ghost of Fidel appears.
Now the Single Commander counts for little in the real politics of Cuba. Or anything. His brother had the foresight to fire two dozen ministers, officials and secretaries of the party in different provinces. He replaced them with leaders who had his full confidence.
Unlike Fidel, Raul is known to have much lower political talent. But he is a team player and appreciates his unconditional friends. Fidel only had interests. He was above everything. Raúl bases his government on the spirit of clan.
There is a key point that causes friction between the two brothers. In essence, both have the mentality of a dictator and Olympic contempt for democracy and the rule of law.
The brothers born on a farm in Biran, Holguin, like and want power. The means that each of them use to keep it is what raises concern in Castro I.
Fidel is convinced that his younger brother is inept, that without his help he would never succeed in the arena of political subtleties. And Raul intends to show the contrary.
It is time to let him govern. For Fidel to rest in a clinic and be devoted to writing about the topics of his choice or a memoir. But the One is reluctant to go out of style.
He does not want the authoritarian power with which he ruled for 47 years (1959-2006) to go to waste. The old Castro no longer has the support of the armored divisions and the salute of the generals.
But he mastered the art of words and knew how to manipulate the media. It is an uncomfortable burden. Especially at this time, when the General savored his political triumph with the release of 52 political prisoners. A couple of things can result.
As has often happened, the younger brother bows his head and let’s his idol take the reins of power. The General has already adapted and apparently feels comfortable as second fiddle.
The other is that Raul Castro wants to leave a legacy to the country and a consolidated power in the future for his immediate circle. And these are the upstarts in local politics who really hate the unpredictable output of Fidel Castro.
Although they only say it quietly. For now.
Photo: European Pressphoto Agency.