This Friday 13 marks Fidel Castro’s 84th birthday.
Demonstrating his longevity already last week he gave a short speech in the parliament in Havana. It was his first official government appearance since four years ago. In 2006 the once president of the one-party socialist island had serious intestinal surgery and handed the reins to his younger brother Raul.
Recent public appearances seem to have burnished some Cubans’ reverence for the revolutionary icon.
Interviewed at random in the capital, Havana, a resident said: “He is not only a national figure but an international one as well, not because of his power but because he is far-sighted enough to see the problems the world is facing, in terms of climate, politics and confrontations.”
Commandante Fidel still feels capable of telling US presidents what to do. For last Saturday’s 11-minute speech he expressed confidence that he would be able to persuade Obama to refrain from starting a nuclear war, over concerns about Iran or North Korea.
Castro was famous during his 49 years in power for giving speeches that filled the day. He became Cuba’s top revolutionary early in the 1950s, ousting the dictator Batista.