- The Washington Times - Friday, January 11, 2002

Cuban dictator Fidel Castro will soon find some new kindred spirits on his island. Just when brutal dictatorships were increasingly considered terribly passe around the world, Mr. Castro will be in close proximity with fellow aficionados of cruel despotism. The eight Taliban fighters who are expected to soon be shipped to the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for interrogation probably converge ideologically with him on any number of issues.
Just imagine the rabid anti-American tirades the two parties could revel in not to mention the note-sharing on iron-fisted methodologies for repressing an entire nation. Naturally, Mr. Castro won't have any access to the Taliban fighters, who will be kept in the well-fortified U.S. base. But if he did, a fest of mutual admiration would surely ensue.
Of course, there would be points of discord. Mr. Castro, no doubt, would be roundly reproached for allowing Cuban women to gallivant freely in various stages of, by Taliban standards, undress. But Mr. Castro would undoubtedly maintain his loathing of licentiousness and his decades-long attempts at cracking down on Cubans' natural sultriness.
Still, the lovefest could last only so long, since he doesn't take kindly to the slightest challenge of his absolute power lovers of despotism beware. As guests of Mr. Castro, the Taliban fighters could soon find themselves in a Caribbean gulag where fasting isn't optional.
At this point, of course, admiration between the Taliban fighters and Mr. Castro would no doubt fade, but an odd sort of poetic justice would emerge. The hostility, violence and lack of mobility of the Taliban fighters in a Cuban gulag would closely mirror the similar conditions for women in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. The United States, of course, distinguishes itself from countries like Cuba through its higher standard of justice, but a fanciful Cuban-Taliban relationship holds so many possibilities.


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