The US Embassy in Cuba Just Used Old Glory to Send a Not-Too-Subtle Message About Fidel Castro

Reactions to the death of former Cuban president Fidel Castro, who ruled the country for more than half a century, have revealed just what a polarizing figure the Communist leader was.

While President Obama’s own remarks on the death of a man many considered a brutal dictator could perhaps best be described as lukewarm, USA Today reports that the U.S. Embassy in Cuba appears to be sending an unmistakable message.

Namely — unlike the consulates of many other nations in Cuba — the red, white, and blue has not been lowered to half-staff, but remains flying high atop the pole in front of the U.S. embassy.

Image Credit: Sven Creutzmann/Mambo Photo/Getty Images
Image Credit: Sven Creutzmann/Mambo Photo/Getty Images

Earlier this week, the Cuban state-run media announced that flags “will be flown at half-staff in public and military establishments” across the nation.

While the embassies of Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela in the country’s capital of Havana have followed suit, the American embassy — which just re-raised its flag after 54 years in August of 2015 — has seemingly refused to acknowledge this request.

The act has certainly not gone unnoticed, as Cuban officials have reportedly since hoisted “a Cuban flag directly across the street from the U.S. Embassy…keeping it at half-staff.”

As a sign of the controversy surrounding Fidel Castro, guests at his funeral will include figures like Zimbabwean dictator “Comrade President” Robert Mugabe, a North Korean vice president and, interestingly enough, liberal actor Danny Glover.

While Castro was accused of many human rights violations during his decades-long tenure — including by his own people — not everyone agrees that the U.S. Embassy’s act of defiance is laudable:

Despite his earlier ambiguous statements regarding the “powerful emotions” surrounding Castro’s death, President Obama will neither personally attend nor send an official presidential delegation to the Communist leader’s funeral — though the White House says it does plan to send “two representatives.”

President-elect Donald Trump has sent a much more direct message about the future of Cuban-American relations. He noted that Cuba can expect much harsher treatment if the country’s current leadership is “unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people, and the U.S. as a whole.”

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