Earlier this week, South Florida received news of Fidel Castro's continued not-deadness with a mixture of apathy and anger. On the one hand, watching him proudly vote in the sham elections he instituted annoys the hell out of most Miamians. On the other hand, Fidel looked shrunken and wrinkled like a pickle that had fallen onto the kitchen floor and rolled under the refrigerator to be forgotten.
Well, this pickle still has some punch to it. Cuban government newspaper Granma has released a transcript of Fidel's February 3th voting appearance, in which he wages a one-man war on stairs, discusses the intricacies of buffalo insemination, and muses about colonizing Mars.
Riptide strongly encourages anyone with Spanish language skills to sit down, snap open a six pack, and read the entire transcript.
But for those without a week to waste, we've put together some of the highlights.
On Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, who is recuperating from cancer surgery in a Havana hospital:
He is recovering, according to the latest medical report that I received today Sunday, February 3 at midday... Chávez is one of the people who has done the most for liberty and unification of this continent... You've seen the campaigns they run against Chávez in Venezuela. It's terrible. We've always been close, the Cubans and Venezuelans. The bourgeoisie from here fled to Miami or Venezuela, which was a country with more resources that us. Chávez achieved enormous prestige. The people responded to him, and not just because he gives orders. They say: "This public transportation is ours. I have a house I never had before, because I have a job I never had before, we have schools, hospitals, and hopes we never had before." He's done everything for his people. But when he was in full battle, he forgot about his health.
Napoleon went from being a revolutionary to the emperor of France. He invades Russia. Perhaps you have seen the movie War and Peace? Or Liberation? Those are the works that teach you quite a lot.
On buffalo insemination (completely unprompted):
The buffalo produces twice the meat per day [as a cow], and with less fat. That's what I was told by Alfredo, a peasant from Alquízar who is intelligent and serious. These valuable animals didn't use to exist in Cuba. In the year 1983, [Panamanian general Omar] Torrijos gave us 25 females and two males of the Bufalypso breed, known as water buffaloes... In just a few years they multiplied. We didn't really have to keep using artificial insemination!
On colonizing Mars:
A private Dutch company is planning the colonization of Mars. The same company is recruiting young people in order to train them. They believe it will be like coming to this hemisphere from Spain. However, individuals should travel with the promise of never returning, remaining on the Mars colony, which has a different orbit and gravity and air density [than Earth]. How beautiful! The company is recruiting young people. They have to go peacefully. Newspapers are talking more and more about this subject, which just goes to show the uncertain perspective of the human adventure.
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And on those bastardly assholes known as stairs:
I asked various people who work with me the number of steps and the height of the stairway at the entrance. The assured me it was eight high steps, which was true. My shattered knee... has taken its toll.
I enjoy challenging stairs.
Castro then left the polling station to chants of ¡Fidel, Fidel, Fidel!