Since 1990, the Castro regime has spent a total of $1.36 billion on Cuba's Olympic program. Can there be any justification for such an expenditure? Castro boasts in his latest "Reflection" in Granma that Cuba once had the highest concentration of Olympic medals per capita of any country in the world. I think that Cubans would have been far happier and prouder if milk were available to Cuban children after the age of 7. The $1.36 billion certainly could have made that possible and much more. Instead it was squandered so that Cuba could be an "Olympic power," which is something that matters to Fidel and nobody else. Ironically, Fidel laments in his "Reflection" that even the splendor of the Olympics cannot make us "forget the hunger, the malnutrition, the lack of schools and teachers, hospitals, doctors, medicines and other vital necessities from which the world suffers." Yet Cuba's participation in the Olympics is intended to be just such a soporific (for Cubans and the world) at the cost of aggravating all those social ills.
Even such an indefensible waste of scarce resources was not enough to achieve the results that Fidel expected in Beijing. Why? Because "the mafia" robbed Cuba of some of its laurels. Although the fraternal venue of the 2008 Olympics made it impossible for "the mafia" to entice Cuba's athletes with promises of freedom and just compensation for their talents, Castro alleges that the same sports agents that "prey upon" his athletes elsewhere bribed IOC judges and referees to assure that amateurism itself would be defeated in the only nation that still enforces it.
Oddly, it was the case of Ángel Valodia Matos which Fidel claims precipitated him to denounce "the mafia's" latest machinations against Cuban athletes. According to Castro, Valodia Matos, the taekwondo gold medal winner in 2000 who was banned for life (along with his trainer) for kicking a referee in the face after forfeiting the bronze medal match, was upset not only on account of the call against him but also because "the mafia" had tried unsuccessfully to bribe his trainer and, he presumed, had succeeded in bribing the Swedish referee. Under such provocation, Castro writes that Valodia Matos "could not contain himself." The impression is left, moreover, that he should not have been expected to contain his rage, that his conduct was a natural reaction to such "provocation." Castro pledges his "total solidarity" with Valodia Matos and his trainer and urges his subjects to receive them as heroes on their homecoming and do everything in their power for them, as well as for all other Cuban athletes who "held high the country's honor" despite "the repugnant mercenary actions" of Cuba's enemies.
By 2012, hopefully, Cubans will see other marvels that will interest them more than the Olympics. Freedom is a medal that every man wears in a free country, and it's real not electroplate.