Cuba’s Fidel Castro derides GOP field as “greatest competition of idiocy and ignorance” ever seen

Laura Rozen
The Envoy

Cuba's Fidel Castro weighed in on the GOP field Wednesday ahead of next week's Florida GOP primary vote.

The former Cuban leader, 85, whose 1959 Communist takeover of the island nation prompted the exodus of many of those whose families now comprise Florida's politically influential Cuban American community, took to official state media organs to blast the Republican primary contest, the Associated Press's man in Havana Paul Haven reported.

"The selection of a Republican candidate for the presidency of this globalized and expansive empire is—and I mean this seriously—the greatest competition of idiocy and ignorance that has ever been," Castro wrote in an opinion column carried by a Cuban state paper, Haven wrote.

Castro officially stepped down as the head of the country's communist party last year, turning power over to his brother Raul Castro. His brother officially succeeded him as Cuba's president in 2008.

But the aging revolutionary still exerts a powerful psychological hold on Florida's Cuban America community---and thus on local and national politics. He has managed to outlast eleven U.S. administrations.

Asked at Monday's Tampa GOP primary debate what he would do if he got a 3 a.m. call that Castro had died, Mitt Romney responded that he would "thank Heavens" that Castro had at last "returned to his maker."

"I don't think Fidel's going to meet his maker," Newt Gingrich replied. "I think he's going to go to the other place."

Gingrich, speaking Wednesday at Florida International University, chastised President Obama for supporting the Arab spring pro-democracy revolutions, while not calling for a "Cuban spring" closer to home.

"I don't think it occurs to a single person in the White House to look south and propose a Cuban spring," Gingrich said in the speech to the Florida International University College Republicans, the Miami Herald reported.

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