Still Droning After All These Years

Yesterday–and the day before–Cuban organized-crime boss Fidel Castro addressed a conference of “activists” in Havana. His “5 1/2-hour speech…began Thursday night and continued into early Friday.”
Fidel, who has a rich fantasy life, claimed that the Bush administration is plotting to assassinate him. He yearns, I guess, for the days when some people thought he was important. He also tried to think of a difference between himself and Saddam Hussein, and came up with this: “[R]est assured, if they invade us, I’ll die in combat.”
The rapacious–in both senses of the word–dictator actually bears a strong resemblance to Saddam, whose unpleasant fate is perhaps making Fidel nervous. Fidel, who has stolen something like 10% of Cuba’s entire GDP, is definitely not accustomed to living in holes.
But here is the point I really want to make: the Havana conference of “activists” assembled to protest against the U.S.-backed Free Trade Area of the Americas, which Castro said “will only further impoverish their nations.” But wait! Aren’t these the same people who have argued for the last forty years that America’s refusal to trade with Cuba is the reason why the Cuban economy is a disaster, with a per-capita GDP one-sixth that of Barbados, notwithstanding its wonderful socialist system?
Perhaps Castro’s anti-free trade harangue merely shows that misery loves company. As for the “activists,” they may be fools; or maybe they figured Castro’s island prison is a good place to go to learn about “impoverishing their nations.”

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