Primavera Negra

Neither Fidel has gone nor Raul arrived

Posted on Wed, May. 16, 2007

`Neither Fidel has gone nor Raul arrived'
Hector Palacios

Dissident Héctor Palacios was in a Cuban military hospital when Fidel
Castro ceded power in July, and when the ailing leader was a no-show at
his birthday celebration Dec. 2.

After the first announcement ''the military doctors looked nervous and
impatient,'' said Palacios, 63. “But the most important thing happened
later on.''

''When those people got over the psychological fixation they had about
Fidel Castro's immortality and saw that it was possible to live without
him, I saw nurses, doctors and hospital personnel sighing with relief
when the man didn't show up on Dec. 2,'' he added.

Palacios, one of the 75 dissidents sentenced to long prison terms during
the so-called Black Spring of 2003, was in a security wing of a military
hospital. He was freed Dec. 6 because of his health problems.

He defines Cuba today as a nation halted in time: “Neither Fidel has
gone nor [brother] Raúl has arrived, and this has created a black hole
that has absorbed the dreams of the new generations.''

But he believes that change will come soon, “not within the next 24
hours, but faster than most people imagine. The day Fidel Castro dies,
80 percent of the regime's potential will die . . . and the
transformations will come.''

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