Although Fidel Castro was not mentioned by name in Barack Obama's speech to the Cuban American National Foundation, there was a "Secret Message" for him in it which he would not have failed to grasp, and which his "Reflection" upon Obama's speech shows that he not only understood but used as the basis for his endorsement of Obama.
In his speech, Obama alluded to FDR's "Four Freedoms" as enunciated in his June 6, 1941 address to Congress. These are: 1) freedom of speech and expression; 2) freedom of religion; 3) freedom from want; 4) freedom from fear. Obama said that "What all of us should strive for is freedom as FDR described it." We prefer, of course, Martí's more succinct definition: "Freedom is the right of every man to think and speak without hypocrisy." From that freedom follows all others and without it there can be no other. But it suited Obama's purposes to define freedom in Roosevelt's terms because his "Four Freedoms" include "freedom from want," the old Marxist shibboleth to which every other freedom is sacrificed in a Communist society without ever obtaining a reprieve from hunger, starvation or famine, but, rather, adding manmade causes for these to the natural ones.
Obama cites Cuba as one of the nations in the Americas that suffers from want of political freedom. He does not, however, cite it as one that is deficient in "advancing freedom from want," a curious omission in a speech to a Cuban-American lobby that supports remittances and other kinds of assistance in order to mitigate the effects of Castro's impoverishment of the Cuban people. Yet it is not so curious if one considers that Obama's thought on Cuba and everything else is shaped by two polarities -- FDR and JFK.
Not only does Obama resurrect FDR's "Four Freedoms" but proclaims that "It's time for a new alliance of the Americas (that is, Alliance for Progress). FDR was a great believer in the utility of friendly dictatorships in Latin America (remember, "Somoza is a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch?"). Kennedy, of course, actually believed that Castro's anti-Cuban revolution was a classic social revolution, one fought, supposedly, to advance the cause of "freedom from want." On more than one occasion JFK expressed a deep remorse for having to oppose a revolution which was "doing so much good for the Cuban people." His support for the so-called "social agenda" of the Cuban Revolution is contained in the notorious "White Paper" on Cuba, written under Kennedy's instructions by toady-in-chief Arthur M. Schlesinger, which actually sanctions Cuba-like "social revolutions" throughout Latin America.
From JFK, Obama learned a certain partiality to Third-World social revolutions and from FDR the utility of cultivating friendly dictators. Apparently, Obama thinks that he can turn Castro into one of those by the force of his personality and with America's checkbook. Nothing would please Castro more than to be "friendly" to the U.S. on his terms. He has never wanted anything else. Of course, friendship on his terms means unconditional capitulation by the United States, which is the promise and prize that Obama holds out to him.
Obama conveyed his solidarity and assured Fidel of his future support by declaring that "[a]fter decades of pressing for top-down reforms [that is, the last 40 odd years since Kennedy], we need an agenda that advances democracy, security and opportunity from the bottom up." Or, in other words, we need popular revolutions in Latin America. Not in Cuba, of course, because the people there have already achieved that most important [Marxist] condition for a fully integrated society -- freedom from want, or so Obama believes.
That was the "Message to Fidel" that Obama transmitted in secret code in his speech: the recognition that it had achieved, at least, one of FDR's "Four Freedoms," the one, in particular, which matters the most to Castro and which he is most proud to claim as an "achievement." Of course, anyone who has ever gone beyond the propaganda (as clearly Obama has not) is aware that Castro transformed a once prosperous First-World country into a perennially struggling Third-World one. Still, for Obama, poverty is something that exists in Haiti and Peru, not Cuba.
In his "Reflection" on Obama's speech, Fidel Castro made it quite clear that he understood perfectly Obama's code and returned the compliment proffered by Obama:
"What did he say in his speech in Miami, this man who is doubtless, from a social and human viewpoint, the most progressive candidate for the presidency of the United States? 'For two hundred years,' he said, 'the United States has made it clear that we won't stand for foreign intervention in our hemisphere. But every day, all across the Americas, there is a different kind of struggle --not against foreign armies, but against the deadly threat of hunger and thirst, disease and despair. That is not a future that we have to accept --not for the child in Port au Prince or the family in the highlands of Peru. We can do better. We must do better. […] We cannot ignore suffering to our south, nor stand for the globalization of the empty stomach.' A magnificent description of imperialist globalization: the globalization of empty stomachs! We ought to thank him for it."
Yes, Fidel is feeling very grateful to Obama. That "globalization of empty stomachs" is worthy of Noah Chomsky himself, or Fidel Castro. Fidel goes on to compare the Monroe Doctrine to the "Obama Doctrine," and pronounces himself firmly on the side of the latter with its promise of "deepen[ing] the trust and the ties among our people."
Fidel especially liked a line toward the end of Obama's speech where he proclaims "[t]ogether, we can choose the future over the past." Fidel called it "a beautiful phrase, for it attests to the idea, or at least the apprehension, that history shapes great men and not all the other way around." Fidel seems to be discovering Marxist tropes everywhere in Obama's speech. He may be better at that than even me. But I prefer a different interpretation of Obama's "beautiful phrase."
"To choose the future over the past" is to ignore the lessons of the past in favor of the blind hopes of the future. There is nothing that Fidel would like more than for the U.S. to forget the last 49 years and resurrect all the hopes and illusions which it once had about his Revolution. If Obama is elected president, Fidel's hope may became our nightmare.
[Part II and conclusion of:]
Fidel Castro Endorses Barack Obama