Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July 14: Reading the Tea Leaves From Cuba

By Sylvia Gurinsky

If image is everything, as some say, the question is what's behind the recent images coming from Cuba.

The first images came a couple of weeks ago, with a now-teenaged Elian Gonzalez talking about his life and his brief, tumultuous time in the United States in 1999-2000. Clearly, the Cuban government was trotting him out on the 10th anniversary of his return to that island as a propaganda victory - specifically over the Cuban exile community in South Florida.

The next images came a few days ago, with a skinny Fidel Castro in a supposedly live interview (more likely, to quote an expression NBC once used for its Olympics coverage, "plausibly live"), talking about this and that, including the possibility (for him, anyway) that the United States will launch a nuclear war.

Why those images? Most likely because Cuba is trying to avoid the images, at least for its own people, of its release of 52 dissidents. Also most likely because Fidel's brother, Cuban president Raul Castro, is trying to keep the peace in the country. Nothing like a "Fidel's Greatest Hits" release to do that.

But the Cuban people have shown many signs that they want to head into a peaceful, prosperous and open future - including a friendly relationship with the United States. Those signs are far more telling than these pathetic forays into the past. Fidel Castro may be feeling a little healthier these days, but he can't turn back the march of progress in Cuba anymore.

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