NOTE: I POSTED THIS COLUMN ON ANOTHER BLOG AS WELL, Coldheartedtruth. Commenters corrected me. I've edited this version to reflect the actual state of things.
Apparently, Fidel Castro has put his thoughts online in an internet column, saying he believes he won't be alive in four years.
Now, I've been wondering about whether he was alive at all since he was a no-show earlier this month at the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the Cuban revolution. I mean, the downfall of corrupt and despotic dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959 was the high point of Castro's life and the start of his 'new Cuba.' It is hard to imagine that no matter how sick he was, he wouldn't at least have a photograph taken or something. But no, he did not show up, not even in the newspapers. However, he has been photographed several times since he dropped out of sight.
Here's what we know. We know that in July 2006, El Presidente abruptly dropped from sight and underwent emergency surgery for an intestinal blockage (according to some reports the 'blockage' was a very aggressive cancer.) Shortly thereafter official statements reported that he was resigning from the Presidency and handing the reigns of power to his brother Raul, who has ruled the island since then. Television news in the notoriously secretive and carefully controlled country have claimed that Comrade Fidel is alive and well, and is intently observing things. One of them included a statement from Castro in which he vowed to outlast the Bush administration (as he has outlasted the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I and Clinton administrations.) He apparently took pride in the prospect. I mean, even look at this letter. He says he won't live for another four years. What is four years? A U.S. Presidential term. This guy has always loved to tweak U.S. Presidents for amusement. We've seen him send out written correspondence like this periodically, to be faithfully published in Cuban newspapers.
But live pictures? No. Televised pictures? No. Only a few photographs. He may be alive, but clearly not well.
I believed, and I originally went on record here-- that Fidel Castro did not survive much past his 2006 operation. He had vowed to outlive the Bush administration so we've seen every facade one might expect in a country where things are done in secret, to project the image that Fidel is still alive. We now get this penultimate letter (which may have been penned by Castro two years ago or may have been written by someone else), which is in effect a goodbye letter. Not long from now, just long enough to be believable, we will get an official death announcement. Maybe even a nice parade and a funeral with speakers lavishing praise on Castro and on the regime he created. But it will all be carefully choreographed to hide an empty casket, just like Castro's dream of a better Cuba through communism was carefully choreographed to hide an empty promise.
OBVIOUSLY I ERRED HERE. This is the tenth time I've had to publically acknowlege an error because a commenter caught it before I did. I've posted 816 times on Deep Thought so this reduces my fielding percentage to .988