Trying to master a foreign language

Archive for the category “Politics”

Acerca de Fidel

El 26 de noviembre murió Fidel Castro, y me di cuenta de lo poco que conocía de Cuba

Back to English! As someone who claims to have (admittedly passive) Spanish in her combination, I really should know more.  Where to start? With what I actually know:

Cuba, an island in the Carribean (el Caribe). Capital: La Havana (origens of the name?)

Fidel Castro: President and dictator. Died on November 26, 2016 at age 90. Opinions concerning Castro are to say the least, divergent. Most mainstream commentators took the opportunity of Fidel’s death to express strong disapproval of the man and of his regime. And yet there were also those celebrating Castro and his policies (education, healthcare, etc). Segolene Royal, the French environment minister, had very positive things to say about Cuba this week and was roundly criticized for comments by many at home.

Pretty much everyone agrees that Staline was a bad guy. Why so much disagreement over Castro? What are the implicit underlying beliefs behind these differences? Suggested reading, anyone? Preferably in Spanish….

Some historical facts and the corresponding  terminology: the name of the dictator originally overthrown by Castro and his regime (Fulgencia Batista), the Bay of Pigs (I don’t even know how to say that in Spanish — Google informs me that it’s Bahía de Cochinos), the missiles crisis (la crisis de los misiles)…and that sums up what I know about Cuba. In other words, not a lot.

There is an excellent article on this week’s New Yorker on Fidle Castro’s funeral.

(Do links work on this blog? Hmmmm. Work in progress….)



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