Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Year Later...

I can still remember my surprise as I, and the rest of Miami, was caught unaware by the news of Fidel Castro's transfer of power to Raul one year ago. How could anyone have imagined it, especially when that very day President Bush was having breakfast at Versailles Restaurant in Little Havana?

Looking back, this transfer of power was just procedural because President Bush himself transferred his powers to Vice-President Cheney this month when he went under general anesthesia for a colonoscopy. Its a right given to the President under the 25th Amendment.

Fidel Castro seems to be getting better now, but you couldn't have convince anyone of this a year ago.

Looking back at the local news coverage a year ago, many were convinced of something very dire. Sure, Fidel is old, but most of the news afterward painted a very grim picture. Remember the Negroponte quote from last December: "Everything we see indicates it will not be much longer... months, not years."

On July 31, one local news station had US Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart describing what some in Miami were thinking: "It's evident that Castro is either dead or dying."

Many were convinced that Fidel Castro was in fact dead. A Telemundo51 poll from August 2nd showed that 43% of viewers though Castro was dead, while 33% thought he was really ill.

On August 1, Maria Elvira Salazar hosted a special television program about the recent events. She surveyed her audience with an online poll and the results showed that 91% thought Fidel was dead. That's was based on viewers of MegaTV channel 22.

Many had made it clear: how could an ego-driven dictator relinquish power unless he is already dead? Any other alternative logic was suspended.

In my opinion, the phenomena that occurred in Miami that evening on July 31, 2006, only revealed the negative bias that still permeates this city on the Cuban issue. A simple transfer of power was immediately met with signs of death. Why would our thoughts expect anything else?

That's why I have great distrust in a lot of information that comes from Miami, especially when it is about Cuba. In Miami it is difficult to find a view that doesn't attribute the worst from a government that has no other face than that of a "perverse circus" as Lincoln Diaz-Balart once described it.

But, a year later, what have we learned?

- Phil Peters at the Cuban Triangle Blog has more thoughts.
- More Pics here at ViewImages.Com

[Photo by Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images]

7 comments:

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Pancho:

Only you would equate the temporary transfer of power, in a democratic state, as provided for in its republican constitution, to the succession to power, from brother to brother, in a 48-year-old dictatorship.

Mambi_Watch said...

I think its more complicated than that.

I believe that Fidel Castro transferred power to Raul under the assumption that he would in fact return soon. (I actually believe he might in some respect) Thus, his transfer was made under governmental formalities, just as Bush did this month.

But, I don't think it was made as an official and permanent transfer of power: a succession. There's nothing to indicate that a succession was the initial motive.

I don't favor or admire the Cuban government's system of elections. And, I don't admire successions at all.

But, I view the 2006 transfer as an action not influenced by the centralized powers of the Cuban government, but rather just customary. And the results we see today, but a by-product of subsequent factors.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

"I don't favor or admire the Cuban government has a system of elections." — Mambo

You don't say? But even though it does not merit your approval or admiration, you do say that the Cuban "government" does have "a system of elections." And here we thought for 48 years that Communist Cuba was a one-party dictatorship.

Tell me, Pancho, has any opposition candidate ever won a Castroite "election?" Has any ever been allowed even to run?

Mambi_Watch said...

Thanks for misquoting me. I said:

"I don't favor or admire the Cuban government's system of elections. And, I don't admire successions at all."

I see several flaws in the system, as I do in the American system of elections. The obvious defect is the one-party system. But, I was specifically referring to the elections of "deputies" to the National Assembly, not presidential elections.

I do favor the idea of dissidents placing themselves on the ballots.

But no need to misconstrue my comments any further. Just ask me if you want me to clarify anything.

Agustin Farinas said...

M.W.,
"Fidel Castro seems to be getting better now, but you couldn't have convince anyone of this a year ago."
Diaz-Balart said:"It's evident that Castro is either dead or dying."

Well it seems that the dictator himself disagrees with your opinion, because in one of his "reflexiones" he himself said he was between "life and death" (his own words)and was tetering on the edge and almost died. So these folks were not so far off the mark when they said those words, were they? And you know if Fidel said it, it must be true! Heck you believe anything else he says, so why not take him at his word and believe him this one time?.

Mambi_Watch said...

First, I don't believe anything one persons says blindly.

If Fidel said he was between life and death, so be it. But, there really is no way to confirm or deny that, accept through a review of what really happened throughout his entire medical procedure.

Then maybe we can believe him.

The comments made by Diaz-Balart revealed his inherent bias. He received news and exaggerated the facts in a negative way. And, this was way before Fidel made any public comments.

So, like Diaz-Balart, many in Miami felt no need to have any confirmation or evidence and celebrated on false premises.

If you wanna believe Fidel, then go ahead. I'll wait for the evidence.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Pancho:

I did not misquote you; all the words are yours, but they were truncated.

Yes, Pancho, a one-party system is a most grievous defect. A one-armed man can still function reasonably well with certain obvious limitations. A one-party state, though, cannot function as a democracy: it is and can only function as a tyranny.

I am glad that you favor the idea of "dissidents placing themselves on the ballots," but how do you propose that they do this when the party draws up the slate of candidates?