Castro "the Prisoner"?

On Page One of the Sunday Week in Review, Anthony DePalma provides some soft soap for Fidel Castro's image: "With his bushy beard and his booming anti-American rhetoric, Mr. Castro, who turns 80 next Sunday, will linger in the Cuban imagination far into the future as a double image - one, the romantic revolutionary of 1958, promising Cuba equality, prosperity and independence; the other, the prisoner of a half-century of confrontation with the United States that kept Cuba from evolving in a way that could deliver on the promises."

DePalma leaves out the real "image" - Castro as dictator, instead portraying him as a "prisoner" of the bullying United States (never mind Castro's thousands of actual, non-metaphorical political prisoners).

"Today, many experts say that any successor loyal to the Castro revolution may have to chip away at his legacy in order to save it. The Cuban people may revere his memory, but they will also demand change."

While admitting Castro's authoritarian rule and abject failure to deliver an adequate life for his people, DePalma insists he remains admired on the island. "But change will have to be done carefully. Most of the 11 million Cubans on the island today were born after Mr. Castro came to power and have known only his Communism. So despite the decrepit housing, the wasting food shortages and a repressive security system that can make a whispered complaint the basis of a jail sentence, Fidel Castro remains an admired figure to them."

Hopefully, we'll soon be able to hear from Cubans themselves just how "admirable" their former dictator really was.