Yet another flight of fancy by Fidel
By CARLOS ALBERTO MONTANER
Fidel Castro has fallen in love with the moringa. It is a twilight love affair. At 86, as in the boleros, he has found another reason to live.
The moringa is a miraculous plant from India. It is an inexhaustible source of proteins and minerals that grows almost without any water, in any soil. Why the moringa has not performed its wonders in India is an uncomfortable question that the old Comandante does not pose.
Fidel is a man of answers, not questions. He knows not doubt, that typical attitude of the CIA agents.
Fidel is sure that this time he has found the silver bullet that will kill all the economic ills that beset his country. It will be his final legacy to the nation he has led for three generations, although in this final stage he is assisted by his little (in more ways than one) brother Raúl.
This is not the first time Fidel has been illuminated by such genial intuitions. Economist Marzo Fernández, who escaped from the Caribbean loony bin some years ago, summarized well the list of portentous findings made at Fidel’s initiative: a pea seed that could germinate even in a toothbrush; a variety of rice called IR8; a coffee seed called caturra that needed no shade, no water, no soil because, like ivy, it clung tenaciously to rocks; a wonderful plantain cultivated by microjet; a type of cattle with generous cows that provided rivers of milk and tons of meat.
The latter did not fulfill the expectations but at least allowed Cubans to own the only statue built in the world to a cow, the glorious Ubre Blanca (White Udder), along with a bull ambiguously named Rosa Fe, also venerated, who died in the performance of its duty and in the caring arms of its breeder after its thousandth revolutionary ejaculation.
Why go on? The Cuban revolution is like the Caribbean version of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari or Dr. Frankenstein’s clinic. The Cuban society is an experimental lab placed at the disposal of an arbitrary fellow — full of fancy, wrathful and authoritarian — who has spent more than half a century looking for a trick that will catapult to fame and prosperity the farm he owns, i.e., Cuba. That character, Fidel, has hoarded and reserved for himself the ability to take initiatives. It is he who specifies what the needs are, and he who solves them. It is he, only he, who discovers the opportunities and exploits them.
For that reason, among others, this regime is an absolute failure. If we believe the disciples of Vilfredo Pareto — and there are reasons to take into account this extraordinary Italian economist — 20 percent of society has the drive that it takes to pull along the remaining 80 percent. From that energetic fifth part emerge most of the initiatives.
That means that, in a country like Cuba, Fidel Castro has assumed the creative faculties of more than 2 million people and has condemned them to be passively obedient to his most delirious whims. This explains (in part) the misery and hopelessness that engulf that poor nation, from which young people try to flee aboard any vessel because, given their experience, they’re incapable of believing that someday they’ll be able to improve the quality of their lives.
Raúl Castro is well aware of this. He knows that his brother’s caprices are responsible for much of the country’s economic failure, but his authority is not great enough to stop him. He has obeyed Fidel blindly all his life, and that behavior has become a habit.
In any case, Raúl is a different despot. He manages disasters, though he doesn’t provoke them. His intention is to cling to political power at any cost and wants to copy the Vietnamese model, although nobody knows exactly what that monstrosity is.
I am told that Raúl dismissed the moringa story with a melancholy and impotent comment: “It’s one of Fidel’s things.”
Read more here: [link to www.miamiherald.com