John Lee Anderson in The New Yorker:
This spring, a friend of Castro’s, a veteran Party loyalist, told me that the Cuban leader was angustiado—literally, “anguished”—over his advancing years, and obsessed by the idea that socialism might not survive him. As a result, Castro has launched his last great fight, which he calls the Battle of Ideas.
Castro’s goal is to reëngage Cubans with the ideals of the revolution, especially young Cubans who came of age during what he called the Special Period. In the early nineties, the collapse of the Soviet Union brought a precipitous end to Cuba’s subsidies, and the economy imploded. The crisis forced Castro to allow greater openness in the island’s economic and civil life, but he now seems determined to reverse that. In a speech last November, Castro said, “This country can self-destruct, this revolution can destroy itself.” Referring to the Americans, he said, “They cannot destroy it, but we can. We can destroy it, and it would be our fault.” And in May, during an angry, seven-hour televised panel discussion that he convened to protest his appearance on the Forbes list of the world’s richest leaders (the magazine estimated his net worth at nine hundred million dollars), Castro said, “We must continue to pulverize the lies that are told against us. . . .This is the ideological battle, everything is the Battle of Ideas.”