Tuesday, February 19, 2008

An Exit "Devoid of All Drama" [Updated]

Well, the local Spanish-language news networks (Univision and Telemundo) are in overdrive, most likely going non-stop till noon. They're talking to experts and Cubans, especially the exiles at La Carreta and Versailles Restaurant, some of which are celebrating.

There are some Cuban exiles that see Fidel Castro's renouncement of power as a positive step for economic or political change. Some are focused on how best to bring war crime charges on the former totalitarian leader.

Noticias23 (Univision) had video of Cubans on the island reacting to the recent news. All of them understood that Fidel Castro is too old to be in power and that he needed to retire. Most explained that Fidel struggled and gave everything that he could for Cuba. One Cuban woman almost came to tears.

Video of Cuban dissidents was also made available by Noticias23. Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo was hopeful and said that economic changes are inevitable (whether the political elites want it or not), and that positive developments await Cuba once everyone realizes that Democracy depends on pluralism. Oswaldo Paya is also seen hopeful, but more cautious. He says that he does not look towards the "palace," but rather to the people who want their freedom, and want peace.

[The Cuban Triangle has more, the Cuba Journal gives thanks and says farewell to Fidel, and the Babalu Blog is, well, intransigent.]

[Excerpts from Fidel Castro's farewell letter from the BBC.]

[Update: Great interviews with Cuba experts Julia Sweig (from the Council on Foreign Relations, and Peter Kornbluh (from the National Security Archive).]