HAVANA – Cubans accustomed to hourslong speeches, thousand-word essays and lengthy interviews can now get Fidel Castro at a glance, thanks to a new dictionary of El Comandante's teachings.
"Unemployment" and "History" are among the myriad words for which the 339-page paperback provides definitions — based on snippets of speeches, columns and statements dispensed by Castro during the 49 years he governed the communist-run island.
The publication, which the government says is meant to provide guidance to Cuban thinkers, calls to mind the "Little Red Book" of the late Chinese communist leader, Chairman Mao Zedong.
Unlike the Chinese book, however, the Cuban dictionary with the reddish-brown cover and the photo of an elderly Castro in suit and tie is not small enough — yet — to stuff into one's back pocket.
Presented to the public on Saturday, the work was compiled by Salomon Susi Sarfati, an oratory analyst at the Cuban Communist Party's high ideological school.
Castro turns 83 on Thursday. He hasn't been seen in public for three years, but publishes in state media frequent musings on mostly international issues, including the long-standing conflict with the United States.
Castro turned power over to his younger brother Raul in February 2008.