- By Uri Friedman
Uri Friedman is deputy managing editor at Foreign Policy. Before joining FP, he reported for the Christian Science Monitor, worked on corporate strategy for Atlantic Media, helped launch the Atlantic Wire, and covered international affairs for the site. A proud native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he studied European history at the University of Pennsylvania and has lived in Barcelona, Spain and Geneva, Switzerland.
First Fidel Castro came out against fracking. Now, only days later, he’s come out against Barack Obama. In his latest "reflection" in state-run media on Monday, the former Cuban leader declared that a "robot" would do a better job governing the United States and preventing "a war that would end the life of our species" than President Obama, "for whom, in his desperate quest for reelection, the dreams of [Martin] Luther King are more light years away than earth is from the nearest habitable planet."
It’s biting stuff from a man who in 2008 described Obama as "more intelligent, refined, and even-handed" than his Republican challenger John McCain, whom Castro labeled "old, belligerent, uncultivated, unintelligent, and in poor health" (the Comandante, no spring chicken, doesn’t mince words, does he?). In 2009, Castro expressed faith in Obama’s "honesty" about wanting to reach out to Cuban leaders and surprise that Obama’s popularity was declining, blaming the phenomenon on "traditional racism" in America (during the 2008 campaign, he argued that millions of white Americans "cannot reconcile themselves to the idea that a black person … could occupy the White House, which is called just that: white"). A year later, Castro praised Obama’s health care reform, though he tweaked the U.S. leader on climate change and immigration reform.
In fact, Castro has been growing disillusioned with Obama for some time. In September, Castro condemned the NATO intervention in Libya, declaring that Obama, the "yankee president," had served up "gibberish" during an address at the U.N. General Assembly and committed "monstrous crimes" in Libya. A few days later, Castro scoffed at Obama’s suggestion that the United States would consider softening its stance toward Cuba if the Cuban government made a serious effort to "provide liberty for its people," and called Obama "stupid" in reference to the case of five Cuban agents imprisoned in the United States for spying.
But, lest recent headlines like "CANDIDATE-BOT 3000 Model ‘Mitt Romney’ Being Glitchy Today" and "I Think Mitt Romney Is a Shape-Shifting Robot" confuse you, Castro does not appear to be endorsing the Republican frontrunner. In his op-ed, Castro added that the Republicans were worse still — carrying "more nuclear arms on their backs than ideas for peace in their heads."
And as pundits lavish their attention today on the latest polling out of New Hampshire, Castro likes the robot’s chances. "I’m sure 90 percent of voting Americans, especially Hispanics, blacks, and the growing number of impoverished middle class, would vote for the robot," he declared. Anyone want to go out on a limb and predict a robot write-in victory in the Granite State?