It's official. The 2008 presidential election has piqued everyone's interest. Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, 81, who hasn't been spied in public for over a year, Castro made his opinion public in Monday's edition of Granma, Cuba's Communist Party paper, along with a string of thoughts on several U.S. presidents during his 49 years in power.
Fidel Castro joins a number of international leaders in recent weeks mentioning presidential candidates. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki criticized Sen. Hillary Clinton (D., N.Y.) following her comments that he should be replaced. Gen. Musharraf of Pakistan has called out Sen. Barack Obama (D., Ill.) after the senator suggested the U.S. should consider taking action against al Qaeda in Pakistan if the Pakistanis refused to do so.
Castro spoke the most about events during Bill Clinton's presidency. He remembered Bill Richardson's trips to Cuba acting as an emissary for Clinton, and he said President Clinton was friendly and intelligent when they crossed paths in 2000 at the U.N., and Castro lauded Clinton's decision to intervene in the Elian Gonzalez case.
Cuba frequently finds itself in the news when candidates swing through Florida making pronouncements in an effort to curry favor with Cuban exiles. It seems that Castro noticed all of the political preening of the candidates during a recent spate of such trips:
Today, talk is about the seemingly invincible ticket that might be created with Hillary for president and Obama for vice president. Both of them feel the sacred duty of demanding 'a democratic government in Cuba.' They are not making politics: they are playing a game of cards on a Sunday afternoon.
Obama, who has worked hard in the last few weeks to find unique positions to differentiate himself from front-runner Clinton, said during the YouTube debate he would meet with dictators like Castro in order to improve diplomatic relations.
Obama continued on that theme during a trip to Miami. He criticized President Bush's policy toward Cuba as "strategically blundering." Obama believes that further restrictions imposed on Cuba in 2004 hurt Cubans who might receive help from relatives and further isolates the island, making it more difficult for democracy to find its way to Cuba.
Clinton has taken a safer position on Cuba and its dictator. She said she would not meet with a dictator during the first year of her administration until it became clear what the goals of the totalitarian regime were. She saw no immediate need to change policy on Cuba and didn't oppose allowing families to send more aid to their relatives.
Like Castro, Newt Gingrich also believes the Democratic ticket will be Clinton-Obama. Castro must have signed up for those free emails you see advertised all over the Internet from Newt Gingrich. I thought Gingrich was wrong on the prediction of that presidential ticket and
. No word yet from Newt Gingrich on a prediction as to whether Fidel Castro is really still alive and kicking. But keep checking your inbox for those emails.