He's 81 years old, and his designated successor is in his mid-70s. Communism is coming to an end in Cuba. It's just a matter of when, not if. So why is Fidel Castro so adamant about not sending a Cuban boxing team to Chicago for the World Championships? One word: Control.
Ever since he seized power from the Batista government in 1959, Castro has been a symbol of iron rule, as much if not more so than his communist predecessors in the east, Stalin and Tito. This iron fist has extended even into the past decade with the highly publicized Elian Gonzalez case a few years ago (what father in his right mind chooses to return to Cuba once he comes here?) to the most recent affair concerning two boxers who left the Cuban delegation in Brazil.
Castro claims that outside forces are poisoning the minds of his people and enticing them to do evil things such as think on their own and make a decent living. Never once does he even acknowledge that 99% of Cuban citizens would probably like nothing more than to put a bullet in him. I"m sure they can find a priest to absolve them, pronto. What is scary is that he extends the net to cover teachers, doctors, and other important fields where people could actually make decent money if they lived anywhere but Cuba.
And now two boxers, and possibly countless others, will never get a chance to do what they love in a free society because one man thinks he can stand in the way.
I know there's not a lot of sports in this column, but this is something that can ultimately affect the overall talent level at a time when the sweet science is suffering from brainless exercises in brutality like UFC and MMA. Wow, what skill it takes to beat the crap out of each other.
I don't say this about many people, but Castro just needs to go on and die. Quietly. And his brother with him. And if he won't go quickly, send someone to make it happen. I'm serious. Don't let it be Bay of Pigs II, get it right this time. He says this is about the United States stealing from Cuba. The only thing we want from that insignificant little **** of an island (it is kinda ****-shaped if you look at it right) is the head of its dictator on a silver platter...with chips and salsa.