Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Fidel's First Anal Emergency (1987)

(The RCAB blog archive stands currently at 47 posts [nearly 1000 as of 11/08], which because of their length might equal 200 from someone less prolix. But this is not the only Tellechea Archive. There are hundreds of other articles published in major newspapers, stretching from The Wall Street Journal to Tinnai News (an Indian paper), decades before the era of blogging, and including stints as a columnist for the long-defunct New York Tribune and Hudson Dispatch. I intend to post all of those articles in a new website which I have created, The Best of Manuel A. Tellechea (yes, everything I ever wrote is my "Best"). Those of my readers who generously spend hours on end here sampling these meager offerings will have a literal (and literary) banquet. The transcription of these articles, all hardcopies written before the computer age dawned on me, will be a daunting task, but — need I say it? — an enjoyable one for me, for it will allow me to confirm what I have always believed — that I have never written anything which I would (or need) disavow. The subjects remain topical because nothing has changed in Cuba except for the worse since 1959. The article that best illustrates this institutionalized time warp covers the other fundamental crisis which Castro underwent in the 1980s. "Fundamental" as in fundament, which is the most polite way of saying ass. Yes, this latest occasion which has so captured the world's attention was not the first time that Castro's ass made the news, and I believe that there may actually be some connection between this prior incident and the latest. Yet no one in the media has even mentioned this prior incident, which did not go unreported at the time, but which was reported rather non-chalantly, as nothing more significant than an appendectomy. No one was dancing in the streets then about this development. No one, in fact, seemed to take notice at all of its real significance except me.)

That Great Cuban Symbol of Machismo May be Gay
By Manuel A. Tellechea
The New York Tribune,
November 23, 1987,
Commentary Section, pp. 9-10

I wasn't surprised to learn that Moammar Qaddafi is a transvestite, possibly the only truth that one finds under Bob Woodward's Veil. No one who has seen the Desert Rat in any of his Lawrence of Arabia costumes can doubt his commitment to the campy and androgynous. But what to make of the allegation that Qaddafi's soulmate and brother terrorist, Fidel Castro — who embodies manhood for those who equate it with Darwinian savagery — is, in fact, a worse sexual deviant than the pathetic Libyan?

The news of Castro's possible homosexuality — and certain buggery — comes to us unfiltered from the same source Bob Woodward gives for his information on Qaddafi, the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA's Foreign Broadcast Information Center released the story in August [1987]; an earlier version had already appeared in Al Ahram, Egypt's quasi-official daily. The only U.S. publication that reported this scoop available to all was Insight magazine [September 14, 1987]. It would seem that the media, which are anxious to tear down presidential candidates or Supreme Court nominees, bend over backwards to protect the reputation of one of their most sacred icons.

The evidence for Castro's homosexuality (or bisexuality) is circumstantial but nonetheless compelling. We are all now aware that there are diseases peculiar to homosexuals. We may not know, however, that there are surgical procedures that are practiced primarily on homosexuals. Castro recently underwent such an operation to correct a collapsed rectum. This condition, known medically as flaccidity of the levator ana, is usually found in males who practice anal intercourse, particularly those who inhale amyl nitrate to relax the muscles of the anus. It is not possible to state, however, that this is prima facie evidence of homosexuality, since anal trauma of this sort is also found, though to a much lesser extent, in men who are homoerotic but not necessarily homosexual (the difference here is the implement, although not much of a difference as far as most people are concerned). This may very well be the case with Castro, who is father to six children [the number is now a patriarchal 14]. His fecundity does not exclude homosexuality; Castro could, after all, be bisexual; but it does make the case stronger for homoeroticism.

Castro was operated on in June [1987] by Dr. Ahmed Shafiq, an Egyptian procto-urologist who pioneered the "anal tuck." Dr. Shafiq is also a leading authority in the treatment of urethral cancer. This might lead some to speculate that Castro may really be affected with a far more serious condition than a collapsed anus. The orthodox "cure" for urethral cancer is castration of the male member. Given the choice, it might be preferable to insinuate that Castro's sexuality is dubious rather than non-existent. Still, it must be a hard call for Castro's propagandists, who have yet to acknowledge in the state media that any operation took place. Perhaps they made their choice when they were consulted by the Egyptian government before it released the news of Castro's "anal tuck" to Al Ahram. This "glorious achievement" of Egyptian medicine could not, under any circumstances, be concealed, even though it reflected badly on Castro and Cuban medicine. Ironically, Castro had nothing to fear — the Western media would keep his secret.

It has never been rumored before that Castro is a homosexual, but it was once generally believed that he was a eunuch. The story ran that he was castrated in prison in 1954 at Batista's orders. This canard against Batista — who kept Castro in royal state for the 22 months that he spent in prison — was started by Castro's friends (what friends!) and intended to circulate only for the duration of his incarceration. But as often happens with lies manufactured for public consumption, the masses became addicted to it and would not give it up. In time, the straying eyes of the curious became too much for Fidel. Since disclaimers were demeaning (and inconclusive) and an anachronistic "Lyndon Johnson" was out of the question, Castro decided to squelch the rumor by growing his legendary beard, which did double service by concealing a weak jaw. His followers copied it so that he would not be conspicuous on account of it.

Fidel's younger brother, Raúl, also tried to grow the fashionable beard but without any success. He opted, instead, to let his hair grow long and tie it in a bun. It was not long before rumors were circulating about him, too.

Raúl Castro was expelled from the Dolores Catholic School when he was found engaged in a sexual act with another boy (Fidel remained at the school and was mercilessly taunted for his younger brother's conduct). Adolescent experimentation with homosexuality is almost a rite of passage in English public (i.e. private) schools but unheard of in Cuba where boys skipped other boys and went directly to the main chance. Perhaps because they have had more experience with the transitory nature of these "crushes," the English do not identify same-sex experimentation at public schools with homosexuality or regard it as conclusive proof of a boy's future sexual orientation. But for Cubans, this and Raúl's bun, were enough. Though married for 30 years and the father of several daughters, Raúl has never been able to live down the reputation that he made in grammar school. He has tried to mitigate it by acquiring fame for brutishness. Indeed, it is said that Raúl is more despised and feared than his older brother. But despised and berated.

Any question regarding Fidel's health naturally brings up the matter of succession. Raúl has always been Fidel's heir presumptive, though it is more likely that Raúl will only serve as regent to Fidel's eldest and only legitimate son, Fidelito. Raúl doesn't want to rule Cuba, or so his chauffeur and cook aver. José Peral and Armando Damas defected to the U.S. in a raft not long ago. The American media and the CIA were too busy with General del Pino's revelations to bother much with their "gossip."

According to Peral, who served as Raúl's chauffeur for more than a dozen years, "Raúl is sick and tired of public life and wants desperately to leave Cuba; he has this idea about settling in a little Swiss town." No doubt he wants to be close to his money. Raúl's wife is the daughter of one of the founders of the Bacardí rum empire and has $8 million in a joint account with Raúl at Credit Suisse and the dividends keep flowing in. [The Bacardís financed Castro's Revolution, but that's another story]. "But Raúl knows that there is no out for him," continued Peral. "Once I overheard him tell Fidel that he was going to shoot himself, like Dorticos (Cuba's puppet president from 1959 to 1979). But he's such a pansy that he will never do it."

As far as most Cubans are concerned, Raúl is the "pansy" of the Castro family. We note, however, that he has not had to go under Dr. Shafiq's scalpel. Perhaps Raúl has been the fall guy for his brother these many years; a kind of living decoy, removing the stigma of homosexuality from his brother, as the beard once removed the suspicion of castration. In the early 1960s Fidel sent Raúl to China to learn how the Chinese Communists had disposed of China's homosexuals. At the time this was received as choice irony. In view of recent developments, it is even more choice now than anybody suspected then.

The present, of course, is not the first time that Fidel Castro and homosexuality have been linked. For years now, Castro has been known as the world's biggest "fag-basher." At the risk of reducing psychiatry to a stupid lyric, "you always hurt the one you love." A more cerebral rationalization is found in Oscar Wilde's De Profundis.

Castro's persecution of homosexuals was first publicized in the acclaimed documentary Improper Conduct, which was produced by Cuban-American liberals for the benefit of their American counterparts.

For liberals there is and can be only one victim in a Communist regime whose persecution is sufficiently apolitical to be denounced without the risk of falling in with "fascists." The same passion and solicitude which conservatives bestow on the unborn, liberals lavish on their own "innocents." By documenting Castro's persecution of homosexuals in Cuba, Improper Conduct branded him an arch-enemy of humanity in the eyes of liberals who are cause-oriented rather than personality cultists. The cause-oriented liberals are represented by the Native, which aims to be the most immoral newspaper in the country and falls short only because of its exemplary anti-Castroism.

The personality-cultists, who are so enamored of Castro the man that nothing can convince them to disown him, have as a spokesman in the Village Voice, which published a review of Improper Conduct by a certain Goldstein that excuses Castro's "gay pogrom" on the grounds that homophobia is deeply rooted in the Cuban soul, amd Castro being the supreme exemplar of his people, he has their virtues in an optimum degree as well as their faults.

As proof of "traditional Cuban homophobia," Goldstein offers us two sets of homosexuals who were burned at the stake in the 16th century by order of the Inquisition. Forget for a moment that no pattern is established here, but merely implied. Forget also that these executions were sanctioned by the Spanish colonial hierarchy, not the Cuban people, who had no rights in Cuba at the time. Forget, too, that neither the acts being punished nor the punishment itself actually took place in Cuba, but in areas subject to the jurisdiction of the Spanish authorities on the island. Forget, finally, that the people executed were not Cubans or even Spaniards. Who were they? According to Dr. Reay Tannahill, author of Sex in History (Stein & Day), "in the conquest of Latin America, only two cases of homosexuality were recorded among the conquistadors, one involving sailors who served under a German captain and may themselves have been German, and the other Italian sailors, also in the service of Spain." Forget all this, then, and you still can't take Goldstein seriously.

If Cubans are homophobes because they burned homosexuals 400 years ago (which, in fact, they did not do), then the French and English must be worse homophobes than the Cubans, because homosexuality was a capital offense in France until 1725 and in England until 1885. So why doesn't Mrs. Thatcher persecute homosexuals or M. Mitterand? The 16th century was responsible for all kinds of atrocities, which indict the 16th century, not the 20th. It is interesting to note that Goldstein could not find — and therefore does not offer — any instance of the Cuban Republic (1902-1958) having executed or even persecuted homosexuals before Castro.

Castro's hatred of gays is his own hang-up. Is Castro's alleged homosexuality the cause of his persecution of Cuba's homosexuals? Does he exorcise his own demons by casting out those of his fellow homosexuals in ritual sacrifice? I am no psychiatrist; indeed, I believe that psychiatry as a science is so much bunk. But these explanations would present themselves to any logical man acquainted with human nature and the aberrations to which it is victim (even psychiatrists).

The rumor of Castro's homosexuality will not change anything on the island. Cubans are past the point of even caring about such matters. Greater and more profound truths confront those who must struggle in the midst of today's suffering for a share of tomorrow's. Morality then is the sum of all things one will not do to survive — a list that becomes shorter by the day. For Cubans in exile, there will be some satisfaction in the knowledge that the emperor stands more exposed than ever, and since exiles are adept at finding cause for hope in almost anything, we shall make some happy harbinger even of Castro's ailing posterior.

In the United States, the disclosure of Castro's "anal tuck," if the dominant media ever gets around to it, will only endear Castro more to sycophants like Goldstein, while at the same time flattering those liberals whom his persecution of homosexuality offended, but which his own potential homosexuality will elate. Liberals may be prepared to attack a heterosexual who persecutes gays but not a homosexual who does, for the same reason that they attack Afrikaaners who oppress blacks, but not blacks like Mengistu who practice genocide on other blacks. It is not blacks that liberals love, but whites that they despise; not homosexuality that they hold especially dear, but society and the family that they loathe.

In Veil, Bob Woodward purports to describe how President Reagan and his cabinet received the news of Qaddafi's cross-dressing — with ribald jokes and non-stop snickering. Will conservatives ever take Castro seriously now that his anal tuck has been exposed? Yet, he should be taken seriously, as should his disciple, Qaddafi. Let us have our laugh, but not at the expense of his victims.


Charlie Bravo said...

KillCastro had something about fidel gayness time ago in the blog... He recalled some photographs in homoerotic poses taken when he was a law school student, in his first attempt at growing a beard.
The darling couple was the one formed by raul and che.... raul got mad at Allen Ginsburg when he said that che was cute and he would love to fuck him. Allen Ginsberg ass (and the rest of his body as well) got kicked out of Cuba.
By the way, it's really difficult know to find those homorerotic pics anymore, and much less those of raul wearing his effeminate grandma bun. I recall having seen another pic of raul and che shirless, very gay. And another one of fidel and raul wearing flat caps (gorras de plato, taken in 1979) where they looked like angry members of the Village People. I haven't been able to locate those photos anymore (they were published on January 1 1979)

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


I think that the reason that certain questions have never been asked even among the exilio histórico is that no one wants to believe that we have been thwarted and parried for 48 years by two such misbegotten curiosities of nature.

Albert Quiroga said...

The fact Sir Ano of Havana has condoned and practiced persecution of homosexuals is in my non-expert psychologist's opinion another indicator of his tendencies. Since no doubt he harbors deep feelings of self-hatred he has turned against those who most remind him of the things he most, even if subsconciously, loathes about himself.

This projection of one's self-hate against individuals or groups reflecting the characteristics one most hates about self is nothing new. It is said one reason for adolf hitler's pathological hatred of Jews was his deep fear, for which there may have been some basis, there was a certain amount of "Jewishness" in his ancestry.

To think it could all have been avoided if Lina had a few pennies to spend on condoms the night the pestilence was conceived...

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


I don't think that in the Cuban hinterlands at the time Castro was conceived, especially in his family, economically well-off but culturally backward, anyone even gave thought to contraception, certainly not Castro's father with his patriarchal ambitions (passed on to this son) or his mother, who, if anything, wanted some permanent connection to her employer-lover. That's something else that Castro and Hitler have in common — their mothers were maids in rich men's employ. Such connections invariably raise a lot of questions about parentage. Another thing that Hitler and Castro also have in common is probable Jewish heritage, although Castro is not so nearly obsessed with his as was Hitler.

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