Monday July 31, 2006
Holy shit: People have taken to the streets in Little Havana in Miami. Calle Ocho is packed with Cubans celebrating the news. The news, that is, of FIDEL CASTRO’S POSSIBLE DEATH. I’ll go with the guy on Calle Ocho that Balabu quotes: “While we celebrate here, I urge the Cuban people in cuba to take to the streets. This is the opportune moment. Now is the time.”
Image: Raul Castro, currently in control of Cuba.
Update (11:56 pm): Channel 4 is doing online and on-air live coverage of local celebrations and ad-hoc analysis of Cuba’s future, “a nexus of emotion.” Manny Diaz is on the scene. I’m toasting Fidel’s possible death myself. Here’s to your hopefully imminent demise, old man—may you rot in hell!
Update (12:50 am): Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez press confrence: “The Emergency Operations Center is active on level 2 . . . keep your celebrations out of the street [fat chance] . . . 311 is open . . . blah, blah, blah.” Channel 4 just replayed the announcement that Castro’s office manager read, and it’s some crazy stuff. Meanwhile, balabu is still on it: “Behind every smile, behind every feeling of unbridled joy and desperate happiness, there are 47 years of tears . . . Viva Cuba libre coño!”
Update (8/1/06 7:27 am): The consensus among news sources is that Fidel Castro is still alive, though probably in very poor health. Raul’s profile has been gradually increased, possibly over the last couple of months. Humanitarian violations in Cuba have stepped up over the last couple of days. Meanwhile, some Wikipedia articles worth keeping up with: July 2006 transfer of power, Raul Castro, and, of course, Fidel Castro. The latter entry is locked up tight to newbie modification.) From the Herald: the Complete text of the proclamation is worth reading. Can’t seem to find the video of the proclamation, which was also very interesting (the guy who read it was very young). Raúl groomed for top job.
Update (7:38 am): Wha? Part of the Herald’s coverage is coverage of Critical Miami coverage. I’d be careful about clicking that link – some weird hypertext feedback loop might result (ok not really – they don’t give my URI, much less link!). And yes, I had to find out about this from Rick, where, truth be told, I first heard about Castro last night. Way to go, Rick! (And check out his frank look at his own feelings about all this.)
Update (7:56 am): A brief report on how Cubans still living on the island took the news of Fidel Castro’s illness (4’s coverage of all this generally has been superb). I’m looking around for more media interviews with Miami Cubans about this, with little success. Val’s thoughts are great: “I should note, for those of you that arent very familiar with fidel castro’s deaths, that this is the first time where actual reports on castro’s health were made publicly to the Cuban people via Cuban media. [. . .] If you guys think last nights imromptu celebrations caused by the news of the relinquishing of power were big, just wait until the news that the old goat is dead top be confirmed. Even clocks will stop in Miami that day.”
Update (8:47 am): At the BBC, a great slideshow of Miami celebrations (which begins with a picture of the Cuban spokesdude that delivered the proclamation), as well as one of those quasi-celebratory Castro bios Val predicted. More quotes: “I’m praying to God to give us a miracle and let that man die.” (Gabriela Burmudez) “My grandfather waited forever for this day and he died in 2000. I’m here celebrating for him.” (Edgar Montegudo) And Conductor says, “As my grandmother has grown older . . . one of the things she frequently repeated was that she only really had one thing to live for anymore, to outlive fidel castro even if it would be by only one minute . . . Hang on Abuelita, hang on.”
Update (9:51 am): Joe Cooper is having a panel to discuss all this on his show today. Participants have not been announced. Listen at 1 pm on 91.3 fm or wlrn.org. Bob compares point sizes of the word “Castro” on the covers of the local newspapers. Y No Mas says: Castro’s signature is a fake.
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