Fidel Castro gives longest speech of his public comeback

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(28 Sep 2010) SHOTLIST
1. Mid of former Cuban President Fidel Castro arriving at Old Presidential Palace
2. Various of crowd cheering and chanting
3. Tilt down from flag and banners to wide of Castro at podium
4. SOUNDBITE: (Spanish) Fidel Castro, Cuban revolutionary leader and former President:
“The imperialist enemy committed the mistake of underestimating us!”
5. Pan right of crowd clapping
6. SOUNDBITE: (Spanish) Fidel Castro, Cuban revolutionary leader and former President:
“It doesn’t matter if any one of us falls. What matters is that that flag stays high! That the ideas go on and that the country lives on!”
7. Tilt down of Cuban flag
8. Wide of crowd clapping and cheering
9. SOUNDBITE: (Spanish) Fidel Castro, Cuban revolutionary leader and former President:
“We have accomplished (our goal) and you will continue to accomplish the promise of that eternal night! Thank you very much.”
10. Mid of Dalia Soto (centre), wife of Fidel Castro
11. SOUNDBITE: (Spanish) Osmany Lopez, 46, construction worker:
“It is for the entire world’s well being the things he says. It’s for everyone’s well being. I admire him very much. I cried. I’ve been here since 2am.”
12. Tilt down of banner
13. SOUNDBITE: (Spanish) Anaita Abella, 21, university student:
“At the beginning my tears came out. It is an experience that I believe all young people should go through in person. I’ve seen him many times on television, but never in person this close. For me it was absolutely magnificent.”
14. Zoom in of Castro leaving podium
Fidel Castro gave the longest speech of his public comeback on Tuesday, but limited his comments to reminiscing about Cuba’s past and avoided any mention of the tumultuous economic changes the country is embarking on under his brother’s leadership.
The speech before tens of thousands marked the 50th anniversary of the establishment of neighbourhood watch groups designed to defend the government against subversive activity.
As is his style lately, the 84-year-old offered no opinions on contemporary Cuban life, including the recent decision to fire half a (m) million workers and embrace small pockets of private enterprise.
Nor did Castro say anything about his health or future plans. Though he is no longer Cuba’s leader, he remains head of the Communist Party.
Instead he spent much of the first part of his address quoting his past speeches and cracking jokes about his age.
He used reading glasses to decipher prepared remarks and deviated little from them at first, mostly railing against what he described as the all-powerful imperialist monster of the north: The United States.
“The imperialist enemy committed the mistake of underestimating us,” Castro said.
But when his prepared text ended, Castro began talking without notes, waving his hands for emphasis and noting that the morning sun was not yet too unbearable. His second wind pushed the speech to an hour and 14 minutes.
In the speech, Castro also ignored what has become his latest top cause – warning the world of a nuclear war pitting the US and Israel against Iran.
The former Cuban leader wore olive-green fatigues without any insignia designating rank, and a military cap, as he has on past occasions.
Castro ceded Cuba’s presidency to his younger brother Raul after his health crisis of July 2006 and has said nothing publicly to indicate his is itching to retake power since emerging from the shadows several months ago and launching a series of public appearances.
A swelling crowd, many waving Cubans flags, stretched from an outdoor stage in front of Cuba’s former presidential palace for blocks through parks and surrounding streets. “Fidel! Fidel!,” the crowd chanted, and “Where ever you lead, Fidel!”

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