Fidel Castro’s newspaper editorials just aren’t what they used to be – his latest work? A thirty-five word treatise on the wonders of Yoga.
Since the Cuban dictator stepped down from power in 2006, he has taken up writing an editorial in the government-run newspaper Granma entitled “Reflection from Comrade Fidel.” In the past these “Reflections” have taken up pages; lately, however, they have been uncharacteristically short for a leader well known for his opinions and verbosity. According to Newser, his latest thirty-five word editorial had some nice things to say about Yoga: in Castro’s words, “Yoga does things with the human body that defy the imagination.”
Somewhat strange material for the front page, especially considering the other things going on in the world that one might expect to capture Castro’s attention (pick a conflict in the Middle East, any conflict). But the brevity and banality of this post is not terribly new; evidently Castro’s editorials have been going downhill for a while. According to CNN, Castro’s editorials have not only gotten shorter. Often they just don’t make sense. Last week Castro wrote of former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping: “He thought of himself as a wise man and, doubtless, he was. But he made a small mistake,” wrote Castro, though nobody was really sure what he meant. In another piece, Castro praised former East German leader Erich Honecker, calling him “most revolutionary German I have known,” before going on to state that “I had the privilege of observing his conduct…when he was paying bitterly for the debt contracted by the man who sold his soul to the devil for a few shots of vodka.” It is unclear who Castro had in mind his reference to soul-selling, with Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev offered as potential candidates by Cubans debating over what in the world Castro was talking about.
Some have suggested that the brief and sometimes nonsensical nature of Castro’s editorials may be signs that he is slowing down in his old age. According to University of Miami professor Jaime Suchlicki, “it may be that he is not coherent enough to write longer ‘Reflections,’…but it’s clear even if Fidel Castro is no longer in the limelight, he is not ready to stop talking just yet.”