Fidel Castro In Humor And Oblivion
14ymedio, Generation Y, Havana, 3 July 2017 — For decades Cubans were
bombarded by official propaganda filled with materials about Fidel
Castro's supposed genius. In these vindications he was not only a
father, but also a strategist, visionary, pedagogue, farmer and cattle
rancher, among other lofty characteristics and pursuits. However, that
prototype of patriarch, scientist and messiah had some "soft spots."
Over time, many of us came to understand that the Maximum Leader was not
as outstanding as they wanted to make us believe. Counting against him,
he had several capital defects: with a complete lack of any capacity for
self-criticism, he never engaged in debate, and he was not given to
irony or humor, the most difficult and elevated scales of the human
Despite all the ill-advised decisions he made, Castro died without
saying "I'm sorry," contrary to those who say "to err is human but to
rectify is wisdom." My generation waited in vain for his apology for the
high schools in the countryside, and other sad educational experiments,
just was we waited for a mea culpa for the victims of the Five Grey
Years, the Military Units in Aid of Production (UMAP) or the Stalinist
Nor was controversy the terrain of the Commander-in-Chief. He shunned
diatribe and prepared himself with selected data and later spewed it out
over unsuspecting foreign journalists and crowds gathered in the Plaza
of the Revolution. He liked them to say: "What a well informed man!"
When in reality he was only a ruler with access to information that was
not allowed to his citizens.
Castro drowned, in long hours of discourse, what could have been sound
political talk and a constructive discussion to improve the nation. We
had to worship him or applaud him, never contradict him. He never ceded
the spotlight, fearing perhaps that we would realize that "the king is
naked" or that the guerrilla had "not the least idea" of what he was
All the times the late leader approached controversy he was caught
short. When he exercised that egregious sport that is verbal fencing, he
was beaten in the first act. His way of dealing with these defeats was
to overwhelm the other with long speeches or to get his acolytes to
destroy the reputation of his opponent. He was mediocre as a gladiator
of the word.
Nor were jokes his forte. Although Castro was the target of thousands of
humorous stories, at no time in his life did he demonstrate a gift for
humor. In a country where there is always a parody waiting to break the
surface, that corpulent character – dressed in olive green with his
serious and admonitory phrases – was the constant butt of mockery.
His death has highlighted that lack of charming banter. The man, who in
life was the target of thousands of jokes about this death and his
presumed arrival in hell, has been dead for over half a year without
popular humor deigning to mention him. Not even Pepito, the eternal
child of our stories, has wanted to "portray" the deceased.
Sad is the fate of those who are not remembered in a single joke. Poor
is the man who never said "I was wrong," who never knew the pleasure of
engaging in arguments with an adversary, and who couldn't even manage to
taste the grace of humor.
Source: Fidel Castro In Humor And Oblivion – Translating Cuba -