The Tragedy of Fidel Castro: Joao Cerquerira
JFK and Fidel Castro have a long standing dislike for the way each one views their people, runs their government and their definition of capitalism, communism and the right way to bolster their own economies. When it becomes evident that a revolution is about to take place that the world is in serious trouble and these two leaders are about to battle to the end can God send Christ to mediate and stop what is about to happen? Listening to God speak with his son, Fatima things she is about to hear a philosophical tirade but does not. God was trying to pretend that nothing was happening on Earth while Fatima realizes and states out loud that he is the only one that can stop or prevent what is inevitable. Using his powers of persuasion and who know that God can do just that he convinces Christ that it is up to him. But, first let’s learn more about our two adversaries, their thinking and their individual strategies.
JFK is the leader of you might say the democratic world that we all live in here in America. Although adverse to Fidel’s political views JFK has been know to indulge in several transactions with him dealing with a bottle of bourbon or expensive cigars and other luxuries in life that both men enjoy. As the narrator relates JFK’s movements we learn about his feelings about free enterprise, his lack of understanding as to why Fidel bans it and his graphic description of the world as he sees it. The conflict between him and Fidel has consumed more time than it should and now he has decided on a new strategy hoping this will enlighten him to what Fidel is thinking and his inner most secrets. His plan to speak with a Cuban prisoner that is housed in one of our prisons hoping he will spill some vital information. But, when you hear the dialogue, listen to the discussion and find out the unusual ending to their visit you might wonder which side won and who was really being interrogated. As we now hear the voice and thoughts of Castro himself as he realizes that he is in deep trouble and about to be overthrown.
Castro looks around him and sees what is left of his country. He described the poverty, the cheap rooms to let and the public praise and private insults that he withstands. Castro is about meet with the Central Committee and needs to focus on convincing them that things are about to change for the better and that everything is fine. Telling about how wonderful their past year was but ignore the figures and the interests of the people that favor him and the fact that his people reject Capitalism does not create a captive audience. Stating the views that he wants his audience to voice he relates how happy everyone is with the progress of the revolution even though their have been some obstacles. But, then he takes on another tone and lets the audience know it is time to you might say meet fire with fire and approach dealing with JFK in another way. So, why not change the way he runs things, open the doors to tourists and hopefully reap the benefits. But, like all groups questions come and his answers given and everyone seems to be appeased at least for the moment. The meeting completed and feeling he accomplished his goals questions arise that make him think about what will others think about his society and what image will Cuba portray to the world?
Addressing the people we hear his thoughts on projected to his citizens, preying on their present problems, stating their future and hoping to stifle capitalism by as the author writes: “ Asphyxiate the economy and that hard times were in store for all citizens. He even preyed on their fears and reminded them that the end result would be slavery but in the end if all went well and the crisis averted with their help everyone would be rewarded. Fear, brainwashed and wanting to believe him no one dared to show any dissent towards him and he managed to learn more about what the people were really thinking.
Just in case you think God is not watching he certainly is along with Christ as Varadero our prisoner finds his way back to Fidel hoping to find himself back in his good graces. But, like any leader and after the fantasy and real life encounters you begin to wonder what is real, whether Fidel is really sound in mind and why he is so tormented with his own actions and thoughts. As the author enlightens us to what Christ and God have witnessed and now he feels it is time to stop what is about to happen. For God, the concern with what is happening in Fidel’s regime and the “commandants illusions that the revolution would continue throughout his lifetime,” greatly worried and concerned God. Christ did not feel it was time to intervene and since he was the one chosen to mediate and assigned the case he was worried. As God too is concerned after hearing the conversation about the Castro-JFK war and the ramifications of doing nothing as not being an option or viable solution. As we listen to the banter between God and Christ, learning more about what each one thinks, their philosophies, complains and why their creation realizes that they were not molded out of clay and that woman were not made from a man’s rib. The conversation goes on and we wonder what people believe in and he comes up with the same realization most people and politicians do: what counts if money, power in the good life and wild parties. But, as all seniors and elderly state: that he is not finished yet and then you have to read it to understand as Christ explains his role and what he won’t be and will try to do. So, which one is responsible for us?
Next, Fatima comes back into the picture as JFK and his counselor reappear trying to set traps for Fidel and his soldiers. Author Joan Cerqueira brings to light in a unique and creative fashion the inner most thoughts of Cuba’s leader and his hope for the revolution to continue throughout his lifetime. Envision Fidel dancing with a Cuban Spy and thinking impure thoughts. Hear God warn Christ that a war is inevitable on Earth and he has no choice but to rise to the call and go down and stop it. There are many issues that are brought to light within this story as views on capitalism, politics, threats to the faith of man as this Portuguese author brilliantly relates the story of these two great leaders having it translated into English.
With God having so many problems we wonder if he is not like any other parent hoping to guide his son, explain his role and on the edge of begin “fired.” With Christ on Earth and things unfolding the story is hilarious in some respects and makes you stop and think in others. Then we hear more from JFK his true feelings about Castro, his analogy about A Bay Of Pigs and the Clint Eastwood movie, and his speech about the antichrist returning and preparing to invade. But, there is much more as the priest speaks his words, the people listen and the congregation is ripe and ready to do whatever he says. Learning that thanks to Castro society is divvied in factions with irreconcilable differences leading to the inevitable. So, the solution one society lead by one man and the other by another will fight and to the finish in the central square as if you were a spectator at a baseball of wrestling match.
But, the fun continues the fight is described as one leader receives a letter stating they tried to free the people from “capitalist oppression,” but in the end he feels it was well you decide when you read pages 78 and 79 followed by Castro’s rant in his own words as he tells of his triumphs, weakness and in the end after writing an 11 page you might say confession, rant or more about his efforts his final words, his sacrifices, and the questions he poses to his citizens make you wonder whether is really focused on what he did, understands the end result or is just delusional revealing in his words the reasons for his actions. What happens when he loses his memory enters a monastery and loses focus on where he is going and who he is? What happens is right out of a movie and the end result you just won’t believe. But, then Fatima gets the call she has been waiting for and God realizes that the time is now to take some action. Just how are they going to achieve this: Diplomacy? The conversation is really quite funny as God justifies how he will handle this, what he will do and how he things the things should be handled. Since I promised I would not tell what he will do and people have to learn as JFK and Castro need to see the light themselves you will have to learn what happens by reading this novel yourself. What does Christ see when he returns to Earth this time as he waits to meet Fatima who seems to be running late. But, when she finally arrives their meeting is quite enlightening bringing to light things that many of us have learned about religion in the past, the fact that someone in Castro’s camp is not to be trusted and what their many observations. The end and who wins the revolution or the war you have to read and learn whether Christ succeeded, what lessons either leader, if any learned. What about JFK and his army as opposed to Castro’s? Which was stronger what about the wins and loses? Who had the advantage? What part does the devil play? Whose side is he on and can he really be trusted? The end and the final blows and what happens you decide when you read The Tragedy of Fidel Castro.
Fran Lewis: reviewer