Fidel was a no-show and brother Raul kept quiet during Cuba's annual Revolution Day festivities, leading journalists, analysts and amateur handicappers to puzzle over the larger implications. The Guardian reports "bafflement among the 90,000-strong crowd" that turned out to hear speeches.
President-elect Obama will have more urgent matters to deal with after he takes the oath of office. But somewhere on his long to-do list, he should make a note to finally bring five decades of counterproductive American policy toward Cuba to a definitive end.
Raul Castro would like to see his island produce more food. Currently, Cuba imports the vast majority of its basic food products, at increasing expense, despite plenty of arable land. Private farmers and collective growers are hoping new reforms make it easier to produce food more efficiently, and that's not just good news for Cuba. With rice rationing at Costco, that's good news for the world.
Cuba's National Assembly has named Raul Castro president and successor to his brother Fidel. Raul has essentially been running the country since Fidel had major surgery in 2006. Although he was expected to throw a bone to a younger generation of leaders, Raul named another septuagenarian veteran of the revolution his vice president.
Sen. John McCain, campaigning in Indianapolis, said Cuba won't be better off under Fidel Castro's fraternal successor, Raul Castro, whom he called "worse in many respects than Fidel was," and the Republican front-runner voiced the hope that Fidel will meet his commie maker, Karl Marx, "very soon."
Fidel Castro announced on Tuesday that he "neither will aspire to nor will I accept the position of president of the Council of State and commander in chief." He had stayed in firm control of Cuba for nearly 50 years despite all the best efforts of a superpower some 90 miles away. In the end, he was forced from office not by coup or assassination, but trouble with his intestine.
Ever a fan of failed policy, President Bush has reiterated his support of the embargo against Cuba, which, one might recall, was enacted more than four decades ago to force Fidel Castro from power. Bush also praised the patient (and sometimes violent) Cuban dissidents, who, he said, one day "will be the nation's leaders."
Joining in the exciting game of apocalyptic Mad Libs that President Bush kicked off with his recent pronouncement that a nuclear-equipped Iran could start World War III, Cuban leader Fidel Castro has swapped out "Iran" for "Bush" and turned Bush's accusation back at him in this latest round of doomsday fun.
Despite widespread speculation that Cuban leader Fidel Castro had died recently, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has assured the global community that Castro is, in fact, alive and doing better. Cuban officials, meanwhile, also say Castro is recovering but haven't said if and when he would return to office.