Why Is Fidel Hanging Out with Russian Orthodox Priests, Anyway?
Fidel and Vladimir Gundjaev
The haggard remains of Fidel Castro made headlines earlier this month for meeting with a Russian Orthodox priest in Havana.
The story was newsworthy mostly because the meeting produced the first photo of the ailing Cuban dictator since early this summer. But a larger question remained: What the heck was Castro doing palling around with Russian Orthodox priests in the first place?
In Slate today, Christopher Hitchens offers one possibility: Castro has spent a lifetime proving his loyalty to Moscow politics, and now that Vladimir Putin has re-established the Orthodox church's role as a center of Russian power, Castro wants to show his fealty.
Still, it's pretty weird to hear Castro wants to build a Russian Orthodox cathedral in Havana. According to Hitchen's account, party members on a recent trip to the island were bitching left and right about the plan.
"What kind of way is this to waste money? We build a cathedral for a religion to which no Cuban belongs?" Hitchens reports one woman as asking. "A friend of mine asked me this morning: 'What next? A subsidy for the Amish?' "
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Miami, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.