Although Cuba's Fidel Castro, as one of the fathers of revolution, continues to verbally assault the U.S. and essential democratic principles, Cuba is playing it safe and cautious not to stagger too far off the beaten path of a much better informed world audience.
An exception to this apparent rule is Castro's admiration for his protégé, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. Castro does not hesitate to wave the much tattered Cuban revolutionary flag when speaking of his admired pupil.
An op-ed column last week by Fidel Castro graphically demonstrated his remaining true moniker of world dictator. He remarked, "Given its exceptional educational, cultural, social development and its immense energy and natural resources, Venezuela is called upon to become a revolutionary model for the world." And with what must have been a monumental attempt to be sincere and appear rational, he added, "I had long conversations with (Chavez) yesterday and today. I explained to him the intensity with which I am devoting my remaining energies to dreams of a better and more just world." (Digital Granma Internacional, Havana, Cuba, Oct. 19, 2011; translation Granma)
While both Castro's have been pandering for world support and U.S. mercy to lift the decades old trade embargo against Cuba, Fidel could not resist his usual venomous hatred of U.S. governance and culture. "... (T)he empire [the U.S.] is already showing the symptoms of a terminal illness.... Saving humanity from an irreversible disaster, these days, could depend on the stupidity of any mediocre president among those who have led the empire in the most recent decades, or even one or another of the constantly more powerful heads of the military-industrial complex which controls the destiny of that country."
While praising the "friendly nations" of Russia and China, Castro said that "together with the peoples of the so-called Third World in Asia, Africa and Latin America, (they) could attain" the goal of saving humanity from capitalism.
Castro's usual heady dialogue always fails to confess the financial and institutional destruction of the Cuban mainland and the horrible sacrifices imposed on the populace by iron-fisted communist dictatorial rule. And the Castro agenda, once again, telegraphed the proverbial passing of the now dimly lit torch of radical rhetoric to Hugo Chavez's narrowing optical imagination.
Furthermore, Castro's revolutionary hysteria appears to have taken a curious back seat with Cuba's silence on the death of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, while having and maintaining a very strong mutual support relationship.
To the verbal rescue of those revolutionaries remaining mute, Venezuela's Chavez stepped up quickly to say, "(Gaddafi's death is) an outrage. We shall remember Gaddafi our whole lives as a great fighter, a revolutionary and a martyr." Owed loyalty could be attributed to Chavez's ego, after having been awarded the "Algaddafi International Prize for Human Rights," a prize granted by the Libyan leader. Cuba's Fidel Castro and Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega were also past recipients of the award.
Fidel Castro's fading revolutionary tenure and factual recollection remained to remind that Chavez "is a supremely humanitarian person and respectful of the law; he has never taken revenge against anyone. The poorest and most forgotten sectors of his country are profoundly grateful to him for responding - for the first time in history - to their dreams of social justice."
Considering apparent major voids of factual events in praise by Castro, Chavez and (Nicaragua's) Ortega of each other's human rights achievements, one must question their words and thoughts related to national liberation and social revolution - and then refuse support to the overwhelming majority of Libyans in their battle for freedom against dictatorial rule and public dissent.
Leftist leaders Rafael Correa of Ecuador and Bolivia's Evo Morales have also been noticeably quiet recently, as citizens of their respective countries have amassed in verbal and demonstrative posture in protest.
More than 1,000 Indians opposing a jungle highway in Bolivia's Amazon paraded last week into the capital after a 63-day protest march. Government "baton-swinging police" attempts to break up the marches "fueled charges that leftist President Evo Morales discriminates against Bolivia's Amazon-based indigenous groups."
Ecuador's Correa too has had problems. Last year Correa's own brother, Fabricio Correa, said the nation is being "directed" from Venezuela in an effort to impose "a political model" that is widely rejected. "Now everybody rebels, and students, indigenous people and professors are against a Venezuelan project that nobody wants in Ecuador. A totalitarian model is intended to be established."
Rafael Correa was attacked in 2010 in what he described as "an attempted coup d'état (and ‘kidnapping')" from his own police force. Soldiers subsequently arrived with tanks and submachine guns, opened fire on the police, and a fierce gun battle ensued.
Even with a world "media revolution," that is apparently demonstrating new messages these days, leftist regimes in Latin America are having serious trouble with credibility. Consequently, many are silent - for now.
By Jerry Brewer