At the end of the 1980s, when the Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega had emerged as an international figure, he cast around for someone to ghost-write his autobiography. One of his aides casually asked me if I might be interested. I told him no – not because Ortega didn't have a fascinating life story, but because he was certainly not going to tell it honestly in a book. Ortega never produced an autobiography, but now, according to reports from Havana, Fidel Castro is about to publish a memoir. It is no more likely to be candid than Ortega's would have been. Few living figures could contribute as much as Castro to our understanding of the second half of the 20th century. Don't expect him to do it, though. Castro has lived almost his entire life as a clandestine revolutionary. To such figures, truth is always malleable, always subservient to political goals. Whatever Castro's goal now, it is certainly not confronting difficult and complex truths or reflecting deeply on the course of his life. Castro's career has been about myth-making; there is no reason to believe his memoir will be any different. Presumably Castro will describe his revolutionary war in the 1950s as intense and full of heroics, as no doubt it was. Some historians, however, marvel at how little fighting Castro's men actually had to do and how easily the old dictatorship collapsed. Nor are we likely to find new insights into Castro's relationship with his brother, Raúl; with their highly popular comrade Camilo Cienfuegos, who died in a plane crash that Castro described as an accident but that some Cubans suspect was a political assassination; or with Che Guevara, who by many accounts broke with him over his decision to lead Cuba into the Soviet bloc. Castro cannot be reasonably expected to renounce his beliefs or implicate himself in killings or atrocities. Nonetheless it would be fascinating to learn whether he still believes it was necessary to execute hundreds of his countrymen without trial in the first weeks after his victory in 1959; whether he wishes the Soviet Union had taken his advice and launched a nuclear first strike against the United States; and whether he regrets the repression and mass imprisonment of gay people, other "lifestyle dissidents", and intellectuals who supported his cause but broke with him after his first years in power. Was Castro sincere when, during his guerrilla war, he swore that he was not a Communist? If so, when did he change, and why? Looking back, does he believe he might have chosen a better course? Although Castro is built on a larger-than-life scale, he has never been known as reflective or self-aware. His ideology has evidently not changed in half a century. For much of that time he was widely said to hold more direct personal control over his people than any leader in the world. How did that feel? Was it necessary? Don't buy Castro's memoir expecting insightful reflection on questions like these. Revolutionaries who come to power by force of arms usually have great crimes in their background. Leaders who survive campaigns by great powers to destroy them do not survive because they observe the niceties of law. Subversives who shape world events by covert action and violence work in shadows and detest the light of day. Few people in the world know as many explosive geopolitical secrets as Castro. Within him he is carrying a blockbuster best-seller. He is unlikely ever to write it. Like the disciplined militant he is, he will take his trove of secrets to the grave.
As featured here on the site, Johnny Casuccio was a champion for Cuban artists. He passed away last August leaving many devastated friends behind as well as artists.
Here is a link to a guestbook to allow people to offer tribute.
There will be a final sale as his gallery is being closed.
It is a great opportunity to acquire fantastic (and realistic) Cuban art.
I'm fascinated with the places around the globe from whence we get visitors to this site. The search phrases that people use to find it is also intriguing; from links associated to the art that I've posted and the musicians I feature to the tips I give on avoiding scams. Here's a map that shows where the last 100 visitors came from - all continents are covered off (except Antarctica whose residents I'm sure would love to visit Caya Coco).
In Mojito we introduce the idea of the RC Church intervening in Cuba. Our speculation might not be too far off...
From Andrea Spinelli
The Cuban government led by Raul Castro has officially accepted and the release of 52 political dissidents imprisoned in the spring of 2003, the "Black Spring": The announcement came during a meeting yesterday between President Castro in Havana The Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, Ambassador Miguel Angel Moratinos and Cardinal Jaime Ortega.
The Iberian ambassador, shortly before returning home, was received by Castro and the Cuban Minister, after days of negotiations were ongoing strategic Cuba-Spain-Vatican to persuade the Castro regime to operate to meet the pressing demands the international community.
According to a statement from the local Catholic Church, issued on the sidelines of the meeting, five of the dissidents will be released already in the day today, Thursday, July 8 and for the other 47 times will be about three to four months. Local authorities have stressed that the prisoners "could leave the island" to Spain. Despite the silence of the Cuban authorities, some time there had been negotiations between Madrid and Havana, Cuba mediated by the Catholic Church, for the release of political dissidents, yesterday's announcement represents another step forward after the meeting May 20 between Ortega and Castro, which led to the liberation of Ariel Sigler and transfer of prisoners to prisons closer to places of residence. It should be noted that the international community is sensitized by the hunger strike in prison, still in place, the dissident Guillermo Farinas: more than four months Farinas has chosen fasting to demand the release of 25 anti-Castro dissidents. Hospitalized in Santa Clara, almost desperate conditions, Farinas said that the strike will not stop until they will be contacted by the Cuban authorities. The reaction of domestic opponents to the regime, before the news of the release of 52 political prisoners, has been rather tepid: according to the spokesman of the Damas de Blanco, Laura Pollan, "If we are forced deportations certainly can not speak of progress on the human rights front, "he said, referring to the" possibility "for free, announced by the regime to flee to Spain. It was also underlined by the blogger Yoani Sanchez, the "liberation" is actually a "deportation" means the forced emigration, deportation, exile is standard practice to dispose of non-conformity with the procedure. "If you do not like, go away" is repeated to the Cubans, since childhood. It also complained that still do not know the names of the five detainees to be released today. The fear is that the Castro regime are being made to create a real airline ad hoc, with weekly flights, to "invite" expatriation who disagrees with the administration of Raul Castro. Spain, France and Chile planned destinations. After this amnesty will remain about a hundred dissidents in Cuban jails. But the term "dissident" is not pleasing to the scheme: "criminal" or "mercenary Yankees are certainly more popular in the definition of those who feel their conscience dictates not align with the existing Castro in the Caribbean island. And this is why, legally speaking, that prevents their complete liberation
Brian Lloyd French
I am a great admirer of the strength and talents of Cuban people and will share some of my experiences here.