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By The Washingon Post
Even the left-wing Washington Post says Cuban dictator Fidel Castro has become "desperate" in his ravings.
Portraying the aged communist strongman as a buffoon verging on senility, the Post today described Castro's "urgent" summons of reporters Monday for "a major announcement," which devolved into a two-hour rant. "He took out a thick notebook. He began to read.
About the Mexican foreign minister. About Mexican President Vicente Fox's bedtime. About how he does not like flying on a full stomach. About an escalator ride he took. About eating goat." Castro was in a tizzy over Fox's snub of "Mexico's old Communist friend" and growing alliance with the Bush administration.
He played an 18-minute tape that, he said, showed Fox tried to limit Castro's participation at a U.N. meeting in Mexico last month to one day. He raged against Mexico and the U.S. for supporting last week the annual worthless U.N. resolution urging Cuba to improve human rights. "For the first time, Mexico voted in favor of the resolution, demonstrating Fox's willingness to offend Castro for the sake of raising Mexico's international standing on human rights questions," noted the newspaper.
"Castro is acting like a cornered dog, growling and biting, and he just bit perhaps the most important ally Cuba had," Ana Maria Salazar, a Mexican international relations professor, told the Post. She said Castro risked desperately needed Mexican oil, tourism and trade by trying to humiliate Fox.
"It's a sign of how out of touch he is," said Gabriel Guerra Castellanos, a Mexican political analyst. "He played a desperate card. It's an act born out of his growing sense of isolation. Fidel has embarked on a journey of no return.
"No one is ever going to take his calls again," said Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda. "He is really burning his bridges by doing all of this. ... Why does he go this far? Either he has lost it, which can't totally be the case, or, more reasonably, he's doing this for domestic purposes."
But Castro's antics don't seem to impress the average Cuban. "Money, that's my main problem," Havana truck driver Alfredo Alonzo told the newspaper in a very uncommunistic remark. "Politics is for politicians, and it doesn't solve any problems for the people."