Mil­i­tary regime

The Washington Times Weekly - - Culture, Etc. -

“Fidel Cas­tro has never taken off his uni­form (ex­cept for the tai­lored suits he dons for ap­pear­ances at in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ences) since the day he took power. [. . .] Cuba has been a gar­ri­son state run by a mil­i­tary caudillo for most of the past half-cen­tury. More than any­thing, the max­i­mum leader al­ways based his le­git­i­macy on his sta­tus as com­man­der in chief. The dy­nas­tic suc­ces­sion of his brother only for­mal­izes the sit­u­a­tion. As was once said of Prus­sia, Cuba is not a coun­try that has an army but an army that has a coun­try.

“Nor does this army con­fine it­self to the stern ques­tions of po­lit­i­cal and mil­i­tary power. Un­der the stew­ard­ship of Raul Cas­tro, it has ex­tended it­self to be­come a large stake­holder in the few ar­eas of the Cubanecon­omy that ac­tu­ally make money. A mil­i­tary hold­ing com­pany known as ‘La Gaviota’ over­sees per­haps as much as 60 per­cent of Cuban tourist rev­enues.”

Christo­pher Hitchens, writ­ing on “The 18th Bru­maire of the Cas­tro Dy­nasty,” Aug. 7 in Slate at www.slate.com

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