Castro Brothers Collide
March 22, 2016
Can you imagine my tiny brother, President Raul Castro, who would’ve cut sugar cane if not for my political power, ordering me to stay home during Barack Obama’s historic trip to Cuba? I am still the embodiment of the Cuban Revolution. I am still, at least spiritually, the commander in chief. It is I, far more than any other, who for fifty-seven tense years has protected our homeland against a succession of American presidents determined to destroy us. Raul disrespects those heroic memories. He craves only the office I conferred on him when I was critically ill. I’ve decided to retake my preeminent position. Though frail and almost ninety, I’m still the most dynamic leader in the world as I enter this press conference I should be hosting. In back I listen briefly before my charisma enlivens the room – Raul’s a wallflower – and raise my cane to receive cheers before rather slowly approaching the stage.
“I was listening on the radio before my arrival,” I say, “and am unsurprised by the ineptitude of you both.”
“Fidel, please leave.”
“Stand aside, Raul.”
“Please be dignified,” Obama says.
“Did I hear the illustrious president of the United States rebuke Cuba for having political prisoners? Let me remind him that his country has illegally occupied Guantanamo Bay for more than half a century, and for many years tortured political prisoners there, on our sovereign land. The Cuban people want you out.”
“Shut up, Raul. Let me also tell our distinguished visitor his yanquis backed criminal dissidents doomed to invade our new nation at the Bay of Pigs in 1961. The following year you threatened to destroy us with nuclear weapons.”
“On the contrary, Fidel,” Obama says, “the United States activated all military forces because you invited the Russians to deploy tactical nuclear weapons under our chins.”
“Only to deter you from attacking us.”
“If Nikita Khrushchev hadn’t controlled the weapons, you would’ve started a nuclear war.”
“I was far more restrained than that and already focusing on your embargo that still strangles our socialist paradise.”
“You’re too doctrinaire, Fidel. President Obama’s here to see me.”
“I do feel that Raul can be talked to whereas Fidel only talks at people. Incidentally, I’d lift the embargo tomorrow but I can’t get congressional approval until the Cuban government stops arresting those who speak freely.”
“They’re emboldened to protest because my brother’s a runt.”
“He’s attempting, however inadequately, to be the statesman you never were. I urge you, Fidel, to acknowledge the Cuban people need good jobs, not more sloganeering.”
Cocking my cane, I hobble fast as I can toward Obama and prepare to unleash a powerful baseball swing, aimed at his knee, when Raul leaps from stage, extending arms and body to land in my face and knock me on my back. I’m stunned and can’t move. I sense Raul can’t either. I sit up as Obama counts nine and ten.