Cuba Libre? Not Yet, Amigo! Castro Survives; Millions Mourn

Submitted by: Tom Attea

When word finally passed the lips of the communist regime in Cuba that Fidel Castro might be on his way to where his enemigos would like to see him go, Cubans in and out of the island nation celebrated. Then word began to trickle out of the party faithful that the damnable dictator survived colon surgery and the fiestas began to wind down like toy figures with batteries that are running out of juice.

The Cubanos long-cherished dream of Libertad Para Cuba would have to wait, in the lingo of the locals, until m s tarde.

Imagine the bully man s feat. He rules for 47 years, during which all corridors to commendable behavior invite his circumspection. Yet, at or near the end of his opportunity to be the beloved founder of a free and prosperous nation, he ends up so loathed that millions erupt with glee at even the rumor of his anxiously awaited demise.

Of course, there are Cubans who adore the tyrannical assassin of many of his fellow countrymen, a number, we read, who even consider him the revered founder of his current country, dilapidated as it is, especially compared to how prosperous it would be as a freedom-loving vacation haven only 90 miles off the coast of Florida.

Among his most faithful admirers and lackeys, we find his squirrel-faced and evasive brother, Raul, who is now being touted as the man who, in the event of Fidel’s final knell, can guide the isle with a sure hand toward a future as lamentable as his gonzo brother managed to make its last 47 years.


But, while we excoriate the heavy-handed dictator, let us take a moment to acknowledge one positive thing he has done, even for cynical reasons. He exported thousands of Cuban doctors to provide free healthcare in underdeveloped nations. But did it primarily because, in his own words, which he let fly this July, “These programs make us stronger, since it is not easy for the empire to destroy a people giving back vision to millions of Latin Americans.” Notice the swipe at the US, which, if it wasn’t for Fidel’s folly, would be the island’s principal benefactor.

We must also note that the majority of the shock docs are in Venezuela, which in turn ships Cuba about 98,000 barrels of oil a day for cheap.

Meanwhile, George Bush, dismissing the confrontations his precipitous shoulder-to-the-wheel-of-change expostulation might precipitate, affirmed, “The United States is committed to supporting the Cuban people’s aspirations for democracy and freedom…. We will support you in your effort to build a transitional government in Cuba committed to democracy, and we will take note of those in the current Cuban regime who obstruct your desire for a free Cuba.”

When will the man learn you can t move the world toward anything like you move earth with a spade, in this case, the queen of spades, or the card of death?

On the other hand, maybe the would-be foilers of Fidel’s regime who look on cautiously within the anachronistically communist isle, will be able to make their sentiment effervesce into a new national spirit.

But, until Castro finally lights up his final cigar, we re afraid the free spirit of the isle will remain under the heavy butt of its widely demonized dictator.

Till the reliably lauded day the last ash falls from his stogie, it looks as if, shaky as Fidel s grip is, the communist regime subservient to him will somehow remain in power.

But hope springs even at the sight of the rising smoke rings. Obviously, Fidel is not well, and the time cannot be that far distant when he goes his buried way.

Then perhaps there will be an electrifying movement, in and out of the ill-dominated isle, toward Cuba libre! Cuba libre finalmente!

Then we might all pack our swimsuits and pop over to enjoy the first vacaciones of our lives in a land that, not so long ago, was home to American revelers and anglers, most famously, Ernesto Hemingway.

Or, in terms of the hope that may finally allow us to make our ways there, our first opportunity to to enjoy some tiempo libre! And, given how hard most of us labor in the land of the gringo in these frantic and troubled times, we could all use some tiempo libre finalmente!

About the Author: Tom Attea, humorist and creator of

, has had six shows produced Off-Broadway. Critics have called his writing “delightfully funny,” “witty,” with “great humor and ebullience” and “good, genuine laughs.”


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