WASHINGTON, District of Columbia — Granma, the official state-run newspaper of Cuba, last week reported Cuba president Raúl Castro saw an image of Jesus Christ in billows of smoke blown from a cigar being puffed by former Cuba president Fidel Castro, according to Gustavo Becerra Zarza, a Miami-based publisher of an anti-Castro newspaper.
Through his weekly Spanish-language newspaper Yo No Coopero Con Los Castro Perros Sucios (I Will Not Cooperate with the Castro Dirty Dogs), Mr. Zarza monitors and reports on events in Cuba for the Miami Cuban exile population.
“I was floored by such blatant mention of religion,” Mr. Zarza said by telephone. “Since the fascist Castro dogs took over, I really can’t recall any time that, that communist rag talked about religion like that, let alone invoking the name of Jesus Christ. Never in all these years.”
Mr. Zarza said the Granma article was very brief and did not show a picture of the purported Christ-like image. “It said that Raúl only has a basic feature phone that doesn’t have a camera, so he didn’t get a picture.”
According to Mr. Zarza, the only other detail provided was the Castro brothers were watching a New York Yankees baseball game on television when the smoky image appeared.
In May, Raúl Castro visited Pope Francis at the Vatican to thank him for his role in igniting and facilitating the fast-evolving rapprochement between Cuba and the United States.
After the meeting with the pontiff, Mr. Castro remarked that he might return to the Catholic faith he was born into and would possibly resume praying. The comments were widely interpreted as attempts at humor from the avowed Marxist-Leninist atheist.
The Miami publisher does not find humor in dictators. “They’ve jailed, tortured, persecuted, and murdered religious Cubans for over 50 years,” Mr. Zarza said. “Certainly, for those victims and their families there’s nothing funny about the Castro brothers.”
Mr. Zarza said because Pope Francis will visit Cuba in late September he believes the Castro brothers are “just messing with the pope.”
“It’s just a smoke screen,” Mr. Zarza said. “You can’t teach old, dirty dogs new tricks. I doubt they saw anything. They are what they are, brutal dictators, and no amount of humor can change that.”
Juan N. Uendos covers Latino and Hispanic news in the United States and the Americas.
Raul Castro photo: https://goo.gl/A0JbLx — Government.ru. —
Fidel Castro photo: JorgeSaenz: AP/World Wide Photos — http://goo.gl/jGQz1O.
Pope Francis photo: Korean Culture and Information Service (Jeon Han) —