The following joke, circulating in Cuba at the end of the s, pokes f
the ways that ideology colors interpretation of events on the island:
When Pope John Paul visited Havana in , he was personally welco
by Fidel Castro, who invited him to tour the city. They rode in the P
mobile, and since it was a warm day, they opened the roof. Everythin
fine until they reached the Malecón, when suddenly a gust of wind
up and swept the Pope’s zuchetto off his head and out into the sea. Th
floated, bobbing on the waves.
‘‘Don’t worry, Your Holiness,’’ exclaimed Fidel, ‘‘I’ll get it for you
jumped over the side of the Popemobile, leaped over the seawall, and
out over the water. Yes, he actually walked on top of the water, all the
out to where the zuchetto lay floating on the waves. Then he turned
dashed back, still skimming over the surface, leaped over the seawall
jumped back into the Popemobile, without getting a drop of water o
clothes. ‘‘Here, Your Holiness,’’ he panted.
The next day, newspapers all over the world reported this amazing
In Granma, the Cuban Communist Party newspaper, the headline
‘‘Fidel Is God; He Walks on Water.’’
In L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, the headline read ‘‘
Performs a Miracle: Makes Fidel Castro Walk on Water.’’
And in the Miami Herald, read by the Cuban exile community in M
the headline read ‘‘Castro Doesn’t Know How to Swim.’’
When someone picks up a book on Cuba, inevitably the first and de
question is ‘‘which side is it on?’’ A reviewer who praises a book on Cu
‘‘balanced’’ probably acknowledges certain successes of the Cuban Revol
(especially in areas such as education, health, sports, and international
tions), and critiques U.S. policy toward Cuba as counterproductive, wh
the same time criticizing the Cuban government’s top-down and repre
policies. Books that support the revolution tend to concentrate on the
of success; those that oppose it tend to focus on the latter issues.
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