Commentary — February 28, 2008, 7:06 pm

Archive Highlights: Fidel Castro

Reuters, “McCain Hopes Castro to ‘Meet Marx Soon,’” the New York Times, February 22, 2008:

Republican presidential front-runner John McCain suggested on Friday that he hoped retired Cuban leader Fidel Castro would die soon and said Castro’s brother will be a worse leader.

“I hope he has the opportunity to meet Karl Marx very soon,” McCain told a town-hall style meeting of about 150 people, referring to communist theoretician Marx who died on March 14, 1883.

castro_relaxing

“The Communist Evolution,” August 2004:

From a letter to President Roosevelt written by Fidel Castro in 1940. It is among a collection of letters to U.S. presidents displayed in November at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

My good friend Roosvelt.

I don’t know very English, but I know as much as write to you.

I like to hear the radio, and I am very happy,
because I heard in it, that you will be President
for a new (periodo).

I am twelve years old.

I am a boy but I think very much but I do
not think that I am writing to the President of
the United States.

If you like, give me a ten dollars bill green
American, in the letter, because never, I have
not seen a ten dollars bill green American and I
would like to have one of them.

I don’t know very English but I know very
much Spanish and I suppose you don’t know
very Spanish but you know very English because
you are American but I am not American.

Thank you very much. Good by.

Your friend,
Fidel Castro

If you want iron to make your ships I will show
to you the biggest (minas) of iron of the land.
They are in Mayari, Oriente, Cuba.

J. David Truby, “Castro’s curveball,” May 1989:

Howie Haak, who until recently worked Latin America for the Pittsburgh Pirates, is perhaps the greatest big league talent scout of all time. Now in his mid-seventies, Haak recalled Castro as “a big kid who threw a wicked bleeping curveball-nothing amateur about his pitches. He was a good prospect because he could throw and think at the same time, a rare talent in a young pitcher.”

After several days of deliberation with friends, family, and some of his professors, Castro turned down the offer to play professional baseball. The Giants’ officials were stunned.

Harper’s Index, February 2001:

Year in which Colin Powell complained, “I’m running out of villains. I’m down to Castro and Kim II Sung” : 1991

John Corry, “Castro’s Cuba: Drums, Guns, and the New Man,” April 1969:

Consequently, to the bourgeoisie Fidel can sound stupefyingly dull, and when he rose in Havana on January 2 to speak on the tenth anniversary of what is always called “the triumph of the revolution,” he was full of snappy one-liners about sugar cane, tractors, and the nitrogen content of fertilizer. One Government official said there were one million people in the Plaza of the Revolution to hear him that day, and one said there were 800,000, and some resident correspondents decided that 600,000 might be about right; no matter, it was a gigantic collection of Cubans, and they were there not because they were forced to, which is the conventional wisdom outside Cuba, but because Fidel, I think, with his onions, garlic, and one-liners, is their sign that the revolution is making it.

There is Che in one, with his famous dictum, “To create two, three, many Vietnams,”
which, when you think of it, is in consummate bad taste, and there are Fidel and Che in another, looking heroic and determined and revolutionary. What saves the murals is that they are pastels, and they are gay, and it is pleasant to see a couple of guerrilla leaders done up in pansy colors. There is a lot of this kind of thing in Cuba, wherein bongo drums or something always seem to be getting mixed in with the tommy guns, and it
makes the revolutionary zeal and revolutionary ardor easier to take.

…and the hell of it was that Fidel was absolutely serious, and the people knew it, and there they were applauding anyway. “This year we have to complete the 1969 harvest and
carry out part of the 1970 one,” he said. (Applause.) “Thus, we have to work in two harvests. Next year, the traditional year, that is, next December, and quite probably next January second, it is quite possible that we will not be able to gather here in this. Plaza since a great many of us in this country will be out in the fields cutting sugarcane.” (Applause.). “Thus, the next New Year will probably be celebrated on July first, while the next Christmas will be celebrated between the first and twenty-sixth of July.” (Applause.)

Weekly Review, December 13, 2005:

Fidel Castro said that Florida Governor Jeb Bush was fat; Bush, who at 225 pounds is between 18 and 44 pounds above the ideal weight for his height and frame, said he was flattered by the criticism. “It is not a criticism,“ clarified Castro, “rather a suggestion that he do some exercises and go on a diet, don’t you think? I’m doing this for the gentleman’s health.”

Share
Single Page

More from Harper’s Magazine:

Official Business March 17, 2015, 4:01 am

Radio Hustle

Listen to the broadcast version of “American Hustle,” Alexandra Starr’s story, for the April 2015 issue of Harper’s Magazine, about how elite youth basketball exploits African athletes.

Official Business January 8, 2015, 3:57 pm

The Art of Outrage

We defend Charlie Hebdo’s right to publish its cartoons—and our right to critique them.

Memento Mori September 2, 2014, 5:33 pm

Charles Bowden (1945–2014)

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

August 2015

In the Shadow of the Storm

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Measure for Measure

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Trouble with Israel

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Camera on Every Cop

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
“The campaign music stopped. Hundreds of people, their faces now warped by the dread of a third bomb, began running for cover.”
Photograph © Guy Martin/Panos.
Article
Part Neither, Part Both·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Eight months pregnant I told an old woman sitting beside me on the bus that the egg that hatched my baby came from my wife’s ovaries. I didn’t know how the old woman would take it; one can never know. She was delighted: That’s like a fairy tale!”
Mother with Children, by Gustav Klimt © akg-images
Article
What Recovery?·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Between 2007 and 2010, Albany’s poverty rate jumped 12 points, to a record high of 39.9 percent. More than two thirds of Albany’s 76,000 residents are black, and since 2010, their poverty rate has climbed even higher, to nearly 42 percent.”
Photograph by Will Steacy
Article
Rag Time·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

From a May 23 commencement address delivered at Hofstra University. Doctorow died on Tuesday. He was 84.
“We are a deeply divided nation in danger of undergoing a profound change for the worse.”
Photograph by Giuseppe Giglia
Article
The Trouble with Israel·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“We think we are the only people in the world who live with threat, but we have to work with regional leaders who will work with us. Bibi is taking the country into unprecedented international isolation.”
Photograph by Adam Golfer

Acres of mirrors in Donald Trump’s Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City:

10

Rhesus macaques, who normally are not self-aware, will, following brain surgery, examine their genitals in a mirror. Similar evidence of self-awareness was previously limited to higher primates, dolphins, magpies, and an elephant named Happy.

In New Hampshire, Huckleberry Finn was arrested for sexual assault.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Subways Are for Sleeping

By

“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”

Subscribe Today