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Tony Watkins

 ~ Vernacular Design 

Fidel Castro Print E-mail
We all might learn a great deal from Fidel Castro.

Fidel was the master of the media.

When the news broke that his plane had landed in Copenhagen the flashing blue lights headed for the airport. Fidel was nowhere to be found. Then the news was that he had landed at a secondary airport. The flshing blue lights set off in a new direction. Too late. The plane was there but Fidel was nowhere to be seen. Then it was wispered that he was in a local pub talking to some workers to find out what they thought was going on in Copenhagen.

Footage to dream about. Local colour. Concern for the people. A man of the people. In contrast to the boring speeches other leaders were giving to the United Nations meeting this was a message which everyone could relate too. From the evening TV coverage the man in the street might not have been aware that WSSD was in town, but there was no doubt that Fidel Castro was in town.

He had captured the media. The next day in the assembly the TV cameras seem to keep drifting away from world leaders reading their statements to a figure resplendant in his miliary uniform just seated in the audience. He was the visual imagery they needed. Fidel did not need to say anything. Looking back my guess is that Al Gore was learning. Al Gore made no impact in Copenhagen but with the Inconvenient Truth he showed that he too could pack a medai punch.

The next day when fidel Castro was to speak to the Plenary Assembly it seemed as though he was nowhere to be seen. Then everyone realised that the immaculate grey suit walking towards the podium was the person they were looking for. The expected military uniform had gone. His ense of timing and surprise was pure theatre. He was the master of the unexpected.

The rumour was that Fidel always spoke for hours.  How could anyone limit him to the alloted four minutes?

At three minutes and fifty eight seconds his presentation was complete. He had never looked at a note or a watch and had eyeballed his audience.

Other world leaders fumbling to find their place in their notes seemed as incompetent as pseudo-lecturers reading papers at some university conference.

Anyone from an oral culture such as ours admires great oratory. 

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