Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Saturday, 26 November 2016
He could have been a baseball star
So Fidel Castro has died. I am glad we made it to Cuba whilst he was still in control and before the Americans began to be let back in again. I need not have worried too much about it though, because Trump has declared that he will reverse the moves that Obama has recently made and replace the blockade which has kept Havana so quaint and picturesque for so many years.
It looks as though you will have at least another four years to go there and see all those 1950s American cars held together with tin cans, the crumbling facades of colonial palaces now used as community housing, and troops of immaculately uniformed children marching to school, looking as fit and healthy as children should, because the nearest MacDonalds is behind barbed wire at Guantanamo Bay.
Some Westerners have been reminding everyone about Castro's ruthlessness when dealing with opponents by locking them up without charges or for simply being being homosexual, but they seem to have forgotten Guantanamo Bay and Cuba no longer persecutes gays. I met several openly gay men in Havana, and that was years ago.
When Fidel went to university, it was quite common for arguments during college debates to be settled by one student pulling a gun on his opponent and shooting him dead. Castro did this at least once, which may give you a better idea of the social environment in which the revolution took place. This sort of thing used to happen all the time in 17th century European universities, remember, but it usually involved daggers and swords.
Ken Livingstone was on the radio this morning and said that - no matter what you thought of Castro - given the choice of which South American country you would like to raise your children in, Cuba came top every time.
The education and healthcare is second to none - their experise in treating cancer is so renowned that they send teams of specialists to places like Canada when called upon, but the U.S.A. refuses to let them in nomatter how good they are.
I wish we had spent more time in the little cafes and restaurants run by poor people from their kitchens rather than the swanky restaurants in the big hotels like the National or Sevilla - the food is so much better.
I watched one of his famous speeches live on TV one night, and it was unbelievably boring. I only managed about half an hour and amused myself by looking at all the old people falling asleep in the heat, whilst all the young at the back giggled and chatted to each other.