In today's tour of state-run propaganda, Fidel Castro makes an April Fool's joke, China's media champions censorship, and a Syrian radio host defects from the country. We begin in Havana.
It's Okay to Laugh at Fidel Castro
We don't know what's sadder: Fidel Castro's sardonic April Fool's column or the fact that no one seems to have noticed it. On April 1, the Cuban patriarch penned a column for the Cuban News Agency that's still leading the homepage titled "The Wonderful World of Capitalism." The essay drips with sarcasm and explores the plight of rich people who have such difficult decisions to make every day. “Let us suppose that we have left our mansion and we are already tired of hanging around with our yacht, limousine, helicopter or jet," reads a quote he says he lifted from a Western news agency. "We still have the choice to buy an individual submarine or a submarine for two persons." After detailing all the consumer pleasures of capitalism, such as "bulging wallets" and "Ferrari camcorders," Fidel makes a sarcastic quip: "Capitalism, compatriots, is a truly wonderful thing! Maybe it is our fault that not every citizen has its own private submarine at the beach."
Now we can't be sure this was an April Fool's joke, but given the date of its publication, the fact that we can't find any evidence of where this quote from a "western news agency" came from and its jeering sarcasm, we tend to think Castro pulled a nice Jonathan Swift-style April Fool's prank. Cheers to you, Fidel.