The mysterious reappearance of Fidel Castro
For the past four years, Fidel Castro has been almost invisible. But now, he's back in public and appearing on a Cuban TV show tonight. Why?
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“With everything going on now in Cuba, he is going to appear on television but to speak about the Middle East,” says Philip Peters, a Cuba expert at the Lexington Institute. “Fidel Castro remains head of the Communist Party, which is a position of leadership … But at the same time, in his commentaries he is talking almost all time about history or foreign affairs, not about the issues in play in Cuba right now. He is not a shrinking violet, I do not believe it means he has no say or that he is not voicing his opinion about current affairs in Cuba. But he certainly is not doing it in public.”Skip to next paragraph
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In fact, his appearances could be overshadowed by the prisoner release that has dominated Cuba news since last week, after negotiations between the Cuban government, the Catholic Church, and the Spanish foreign ministry led to an agreement for the release of 52 political prisoners.
The release has been criticized by some, who have questioned whether the prisoners are being forced to leave Cuba or are going to Spain at their own will.
"While we are relieved for these prisoners and their families, the fact remains that scores of political prisoners locked up under Raul Castro continue to languish in Cuba's prisons," said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement after news of the release. "So long as Cuba's draconian laws and sham trials remain in place, they will continue to restock the prison cells with new generations of innocent Cubans who dare to exercise their basic rights."
But it has also been seen as a positive move for Cuba´s work towards greater human rights record, including by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who called it last week a “positive sign.”
- Raul Castro, the pragmatist, takes Cuba's helm
- Embargo on Cuba loosens, by stages
- Why is Cuba releasing 52 political prisoners?