[Marxism] Castro's TV appearance

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Jul 13 06:13:53 MDT 2010


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/13/fidel-castro-on-cuban-tv-middle-east-iran-us

Fidel Castro returns to TV with dire warning of nuclear conflict

In rare appearance, Cuba's former president, 82, analyses Middle East 
situation and says Iran will not be cowed by the US

     * Jo Tuckman in Mexico City


Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro speaks on Cuban television Former 
president Fidel Castro speaks on Cuban television, the second time in 
less than a week that he has made a public appearance. Photograph: Reuters

The Middle East is on the verge of a nuclear war triggered by a US 
attack on Iran in the name of preventing the country from developing its 
own weapons, according to ageing Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro.

"To do this on the basis of a calculation that the Iranians are going to 
come running out to ask the Yankees for forgiveness is absurd," Castro 
said. "They [the US] will encounter a terrible resistance that will 
spread the conflict that cannot end up any other way than turning nuclear."

The former Cuban president said Israel would throw the first bomb, but 
the risk that red buttons would also be pressed in Pakistan and India 
was latent.

Castro made the prediction on Cuban TV last night, in a dramatic return 
to public life after four years in near-seclusion.

"The US is activating the machinery to destroy Iran," he said. "But the 
Iranians have been building up a defensive force little by little for 
years."

Castro said attacking Iran would have a very different result from 
invading Iraq. "When Bush attacked Iraq, Iraq was a divided country," he 
said. "Iran is not divided."

The Cuban leader also emphasised that India, Pakistan and Israel are the 
three nuclear powers who have refused to sign the nuclear 
non-proliferation treaty.

"The control that Israel has over the United States is enormous."

"US foreign policy is better described as the policy of total impunity."

The leader of the 1959 Cuban Revolution who went on to become an icon of 
resistance to US dominance in Latin America during the Cold War, and 
ended up as the great survivor of the fall of communism, fell seriously 
ill in 2006. After emergency intestinal surgery he handed power over to 
his younger brother Raul, who is now 79, first temporarily and then 
permanently.

Castro appeared in a couple of videotaped interviews with Cuban 
television in 2007 and rather more frequently in photographs greeting 
foreign leaders visiting the island. He had not been seen in a public 
setting until photographs of him visiting a science centre in Havana 
were published in the Communist party newspaper Granma on Monday. He was 
shown smiling and chatting to workers, dressed in sports clothes and 
looking relaxed.

Still the official head of Cuba's Communist party, Castro maintains a 
lively presence in print, publishing regular 'Reflections' on his own 
nation and the world.

In recent weeks he has turned his attention to the Middle East, prompted 
by the Israeli raid on an aid convoy attempting to break the blockade of 
Gaza on 31 May. During Monday's broadcast of a special edition of a 
daily public affairs show called Round Table, the 82-year-old looked 
rather frail and his voice was somewhat weak. He shuffled papers and 
quoted extensively from the Arabic press, Pentagon and Noam Chomsky, 
among others.

Dressed casually in a tracksuit top over a checked shirt, the man once 
known for always wearing military fatigues, interspersed his warnings of 
imminent nuclear conflict with a rambling history lecture that ranged 
from the roots of the Korean war to the Cuban missile crisis, by way of 
the war in Angola.

"We have experiences of being close to it [nuclear war]," he said. "Now 
I believe the threat of war has greatly increased. They [the US] is 
playing with fire."

News that Castro would appear on TV garnered emotional responses from 
Havana residents. "We are so, so excited to see him. It is 
unbelievable," sugar ministry worker Paula Alonso told Reuters TV. 
"Especially for people from the same generation, we want to see our 
president."

Castro's reappearance comes after last week's decision by the regime to 
release 52 political prisoners over the next few months, following 
negotiations with the Vatican and Spain. They were jailed in 2003 during 
a crackdown on dissidence when he was still in power. The first group of 
freed prisoners was expected to arrive in Madrid today.





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