Fwd: Revolution can be fun
mstainsby at SPAMhotmail.com
Fri Nov 19 07:16:37 MST 1999
>From: "richard w. rozoff" <rrozoff at rush.edu>
>Reply-To: cubasi at egroups.com
>To: cubasi at egroups.com
>Subject: [Cuba SI] Revolution can be fun
>Date: Fri, 19 Nov 1999 01:42:41 -0500 (EST)
> Castro Outwits Chavez in LatAm Baseball Game
> 1.47 a.m. ET (657 GMT) November 19, 1999
> HAVANA Latin America's baseball-crazy presidents Fidel Castro of
> Hugo Chavez of Venezuela squared off on Thursday in a friendly game
> ties between the region's oldest and youngest "revolutionary'' leaders.
> The 55,000-strong capacity crowd at Havana's Latinoamericano
>stadium rose to
> their feet in a rapturous welcome as the flamboyant pair led their teams
> out for a game shown live on local television in both nations.
> Aided by some young professionals disguised as bearded veterans in
> innings, Castro's team ran out 5-4 winners over a light-hearted,
> But both presidents, beaming and sweaty after the long- awaited game,
> regional unity to be the night's winner.
> "There is nothing better than sport to unite peoples in their souls. This
> wonderful Havana night,'' said Chavez, 45, who pitched four innings for
> The Venezuelan paratrooper-turned-president, who dreamed as a youth
> it as a pitcher in the U.S. Major League, drew roars of "Chavez!
>Chavez!'' as he
> jogged round the field twice before play started.
> The invitation-only crowd also chanted "Fidel! Fidel!'' as the name of
> wearing baseball cap and tracksuit-top over military trousers and boots
> announced as manager of the host team.
> Start of play was delayed for several minutes, as the bearded Castro,
> autographed balls for the awe-struck Venezuelan players before taking
>his play in
> the dugout.
> Venezuelan First Lady Marisabel de Chavez pitched the first ball,
> husband nervously took the mound. The Cuban sluggers at first had
>little mercy, but
> Chavez gradually found his rhythm to pitch respectably over four
> "I want to congratulate him. He pitched excellently,'' Castro said
> is why we brought on our 'reserves' from the team that won the
> Games in Winnipeg dressed up as old men. The objective wasn't to
>win, but to
> have a joke on Chavez.''
> Castro, using binoculars at times to watch the game, appeared
>engrossed in the
> details at first, frequently standing up to give instructions. But he
>relaxed as the
> game went on, guffawing with laughter toward the end.
> With Castro on the manager's bench, also dressed in the Cuban
> tracksuit, were two of his closest political allies, Vice President
> Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque.
> The teams consisted of veteran baseball stars from both nations, who
> passion for baseball that stands out in a mainly soccer-loving region.
>As the team
> lineups were read out, the crowd cheered their heroes of yesteryear,
> whose ages ranged from 40-something to 60-something raised their
> one-by-one in salute.
> Critics of Chavez and Castro who share charismatic personalities,
> an internationalist vision, and autocratic tendencies will see the game
> publicity stunt characteristic of their populist styles.
> But there was no doubting the genuine passion evoked among Cuban
>fans, eager to
> enjoy a night of baseball rather than the dry political discourses which
> dominate evening programming on their two state-run television
> "It's a fantastic game!'' euphoric Cuban fan David Gonzalez, 23, said,
>from his seat
> in the Latinoamericano stadium.
> Latin American diplomats in Havana noted that beyond the purely
> connotations, the game sealed a personal friendship and political
>alliance that has
> become one of the strongest in the region.
> Castro, who led his 1959 revolution when Chavez was just four,
> Venezuelan counterpart Cuba's highest honor, the Order of Jose Marti,
> ceremony Wednesday night that underscored the pair's mutual respect.
> Chavez, a former failed military coup leader cast as another
> during Venezuela's election campaign last year, lavishly praised "my
> during a speech at Havana University before Thursday's game.
> "Here we are, Fidel and Hugo, Cuba and Venezuela, more alive than
> more united than ever,'' he said, hailing Castro's revolution as a
>"landmark of dignity
> in Latin America, an example of dignity and courage for our peoples.''
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