"I betcha [Fidel] didn't predict that he'd be shitting out of his side into a plastic bag. Or that his ever faithful little brother wouldn't even wait for him to achieve room temperature to start undoing some of the mess he created with capricious and arbitrary policies. — Henry "Economist" Gómez, "Castro Was Nostradamus," Babalú, April 14, 2008
In "Castro Was Nostradamus" Henry ridicules Hugo Chávez and Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni for hailing Fidel Castro as a soothsayer for supposedly predicting the fall of the dollar and the rise in the price of oil. Of course, it doubtful that either Chávez or Museveni traded their dollars for euros or increased the production of oil in their respective countries on the strength of Castro's recommendation. In fact, it is doubtful that Castro himself followed or profitted from his own hunches even if he remembered them from one day to the next. Most likely, he never made those predictions or they were pulled from a tangle of meaningless verbiage that could have pointed in any direction. Chávez and Museveni are obviously trying to flatter the sapient vegetable. Henry, of course, will have none of it. He knows that John Dorshner, not Fidel Castro, is the reincarnated Nostradamus and has devoted a 9-part series to analyzing his predictions in Tropic magazine 20 years ago. The fact that Dorshner's predictions were completely overlooked until Henry discovered and publicized them on Babalú and continue yet to be ignored by everybody despite Henry's best efforts only confirms in his mind the Biblical injunction that no prophet is honored in his own land (nor a prophet's voluntary publicist).
Surely that holds true for Castro also whose hopeful forecasts about Cuba's future have proved astoundingly wrong while his warnings of forthcoming locusts have all invariably come to past. Henry is more optimistic about Raúl's powers of divination. If you believe Henry, Raúl was the suppressed voice of reason who cried out in the desert for 49 years "Toasters, Toasters" while Big Brother countered in louder tones "Not One Amp More!" According to Henry, now that Fidel's own voice is feeble, Raúl is finally free to bestow "consumer freedoms" on the Cuban people. Forget about political liberties and all that bourgeois stuff. It is electrical appliances that Cubans want and Raúl will provide (well, not exactly provide but allow them to gawk at and perhaps even heft).
I don't see how this entails "undoing some of the mess that Fidel [and Raúl, Henry, don't forget Raúl] created." The mess remains untouched and pretty much untouchable since any substantial change might cause it to shift and bury those who created it. The "changes" Raúl has introduced are literally window dressing. The drab revolutionary showcase now has a few novelties which it did not before. The people will stand and stare and then move on, as when the first Christmas tree in 37 years was displayed on the eve of Pope John Paul II's visit. Nothing will change for the better in their bleak lives. If anything they will merely confirm just how bleak their lives are. This is no exception to the regime's "capricious and arbitrary policies" and will change nothing except what it was intended to change in the first place — Raúl's image. Not in Cuba where he is too well-known a quantity for a crash makeover; but abroad, where Little Brother has only begun to come from behind Big Brother's shadow. It will be a while yet before foreigners (and Henry) discover what Cubans have long known — that Fidel and Raúl are a distinction without a difference.