March 28, 2010 [LINK / comment]

Castro endorses Obamacare (?)

At least that's what is suggested on a number of blogs, the Weekly Standard, and even some newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times. The [retired] Cuban dictator declared that passage of health care reform was "a miracle," which might lead one to infer that he has become an admirer of President Obama. What Castro actually wrote in the official Cuban newspaper Granma (in Spanish), however, was at best "damning by faint praise." Indeed, the editorial by Fidel opens with some very harsh words for the U.S. president:

Barack Obama is a fanatical believer in the capitalist imperialist system imposed by United States on the world. His speeches end with 'God bless the United States.'

Castro went on to describe John McCain as the "candidate of the extreme right" (???) and said that Obama should have refused the Nobel Peace Prize as a matter of ethical principle. In a back-handed way, he congratulated the United States for finally achieving a goal that Cuba reached a half century ago -- universal health care services for all citizens. But he cautioned that the next step must be tackled urgently: reforming immigration laws to grant legalized status to all who currently lack documents. He concluded by rambling on about what motivations the United States really has for exploring space, and speculating what recent scientific advances may imply for the survival of humanity.

In sum, all Castro meant to do was to gloat that the United States is following in Cuba's footsteps on a very selective and piecemeal basis. At least on the surface, the Cuban government remains as hostile as ever to the "Yankee imperialists."