Photos of Fidel Castro looking fat ‘n’ sassy – or at least smiling, and appearing to have gained weight – surfaced last week on the retired (sort-of) leader’s 83rd birthday.
Their source? Not some Cuban government agency, but the U.S.-based Pastors for Peace, which in July met with Fidel and brother Raul on the arrival of the group’s latest caravan of embargo-defying aid.
The interdenominational group works for social justice throughout Latin America, and considers the U.S. restrictions on trade with Cuba “immoral and unjust.” Since 1992, it has delivered more than 3,000 tons of medical equipment, hurricane reconstruction supplies, powdered milk and other aid. Its caravans of brightly painted, decommissioned school buses – looking like stretched versions of ’60s-era hippy vans – wend through Canada and the United States before crossing the border to Mexico for eventual transfer to their destination.
The buses remain in Cuba for the use of schools and organizations, and even in the island’s eclectic vehicle population, they stand out. Here’s one I saw in Havana.