Castro’s Camouflage and the Sanctions on Cuba
In the second week of October 1995, Cuban President Fidel Castro strolled into the United Nations building in New York City to attend celebrations commemorating the 50th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations (Woolway 1). Outside, the streets of New York bustled with the activity of US Federal Agents and anti-Castro protesters (Woolway 1). However, if one would picture a Fidel Castro entering the UN clad in his usual camouflage attire, one would be mistaken. The old leader in fact donned a bland business suit (Woolway 1). This new uniform, more indicative of a businessman or politician represents a Castro who is using a subtly different approach to ending the forty year sanctions against his country.
The importance of symbols in policy argument cannot be understated. Symbols in policy issues are a product of the importance society places on them, even if they are identifiable to one individual in particular. Deborah Stone said it best in Policy Paradox, “Any good symbolic device, one that works to capture the imagination, also shapes our perceptions and suspends skepticism, at least temporarily” (Stone 137).
Few can doubt the pungency of character of a man such as Fidel Castro. For more than forty years, this ever-bearded Latin-American giant has withstood the test of time and harsh economic sanctions all the while staring down his exiled Cuban-American enemies at the door of the World’s largest superpower. Fidel is indeed not only a primary cause for the sanctions against his country, but he is also the overarching symbol of the standoff. This standoff has left Cuba desolated financially, yet still tenacious in spirit and defiantly resolved to outlast the “northern bully” in calling his own bluff. In order to fully explore the character of a Cuba under Castro, one need only delve into the history of the comandante himself.
Castro, heart and soul has always been a revolutionary. The green military uniform is becoming of the aged leader, especially given the fact that he has lived in the fatigues since the days of Che Guevara and the 1959 revolution. It’s hard to picture Castro without his fatigues. However, before the revolution and once upon a time in New York City, Fidel Castro was a lawyer who wore neckties and V-neck sweaters (Larmer 37). Soon after he had raised enough money to launch his revolution in Cuba, Castro became a cold war warrior and donned a camouflage outfit which would become not only his caricature, but also a symbol of the revolution itself.
The symbol of this nation’s leader and his enduring army uniform presents us with the image of a national leader who is constantly in a state of war and struggle, as well as one who is frozen in an era. However, what is also remarkable about the symbolic meaning of this particular camouflage outfit is that it is not even the usual attire of an army general. There are no adornments, or flashy distinctions of...