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Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Sean, Hugo, Raúl, and the Quote of the Day

A fascinating article by Sean Penn in The Nation describes two recent interviews with Hugo Chávez and Raúl Castro, the latter the first interview given to an American journalist since he became President. We'll start with the quote of the day, from Raúl:
"You know, Sean, there was a famous picture of Fidel from the Bay of Pigs invasion. He is standing in front of a Russian tank. We did not yet know even how to put those tanks in reverse. So," he jokes, "retreat was no option!"
On a more serious note, this from the interview with Chavez, in which Christopher Hitchens (!) was also participating:
Hitchens asks, "What's the difference between you and Fidel?" Chávez says, "Fidel is a communist. I am not. I am a social democrat. Fidel is a Marxist-Leninist. I am not. Fidel is an atheist. I am not. One day we discussed God and Christ. I told Castro, I am a Christian. I believe in the Social Gospels of Christ. He doesn't. Just doesn't. More than once, Castro told me that Venezuela is not Cuba, and we are not in the 1960s.
Another interesting difference between Chávez and (Raul) Castro. When Penn asks if they'd be willing to fly to Washington to meet with President Obama, Chávez immediately answers "Yes." Castro isn't as quick to answer, and when he finally does, he notes (quite properly) that the appropriate place for such a meeting is on neutral ground. He suggests Guantanamo, and hopefully adds that when Obama leaves, he can take the U.S. flag flying over the place with him.

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