Foreign Policy Blogs

Headlining the news

Fidel Castro returns to Cuban TV

(NPR) After so very few public appearances since intestinal surgery in 2006, this was news indeed. Fidel Castro appeared on Mesa Redonda, a prominent talk show on Cuban television, to discuss world events. His comments included an accusation that the United States was the culprit in the sinking of the South Korean ship (the Cheonan), and a warning US-North Korean and US-Iranian tension could ultimately trigger a global nuclear war.

His appearance, unquestionably current with comments on global events and direct reference to articles published in the previous week, will no doubt quiet (at least temporarily) the persistent rumors of his health among Cubans abroad. And the timing, following the state’s release of prisoners as arranged with representatives from Spain and the Catholic Church, is almost certainly a way to say, “I am here and I am on top of everything … I am a part of every decision that is being made,” even without directly commenting on the arrangement/concession.

2 get prison for Cuba spying

Kendall Myers and Gwendolyn Myers, the couple in their 70s that was arrested in an FBI sting operation at the beginning of June and accused of spying for years for the Cuban regime, were today sentenced in the United States. Kendall received a life sentence; Gwendolyn in the end will serve around 6 years.

Most interesting from the testimony in the trial was Kendall’s comment that he and his wife spied for Cuba for nearly 30 years because of their “solidarity with the Cuban people,” not “out of anger for the United States or from a feeling of anti-Americanism.”



Melissa Lockhart Fortner
Melissa Lockhart Fortner

Melissa Lockhart Fortner is Senior External Affairs Officer at the Pacific Council on International Policy in Los Angeles, having served previously as Senior Programs Officer for the Council. From 2007-2009, she held a research position at the University of Southern California (USC) School of International Relations, where she closely followed economic and political developments in Mexico and in Cuba, and analyzed broader Latin American trends. Her research considered the rise and relative successes of Latin American multinationals (multilatinas); economic, social and political changes in Central America since the civil wars in the region; and Wal-Mart’s role in Latin America, among other topics. Melissa is a graduate of Pomona College, and currently resides in Pasadena, California, with her husband, Jeff Fortner.

Follow her on Twitter @LockhartFortner.

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