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August 8, 2006
Celebrating The Successful Handoff To A Missing Running Back

The propaganda coming out of Cuba seems more suited to a Saturday Night Live skit than a modern nation-state. The Guardian (UK) reports that Cuban authorities have engaged in a bout of self-congratulation over their supposedly successful transition of power to someone who has yet to make a public appearance:

Members of the Cuban government claimed yesterday that a "peaceful succession" had taken place in the wake of Fidel Castro's illness, and predictions of chaos had been proved wrong. The claim came as the US government denied it had any plans for military intervention on the island.

"A peaceful succession has taken place in Cuba," said Roberto Fernández Retamar, a well-known writer and veteran member of the council of state, at a news conference in Havana, according to Reuters. He was thought to be referring to Raul Castro's temporary assumption of power. Other senior government figures also said the transition had been calm.

The Guardian has to presume that this Castro apologist meant Raul, because Fernandez Retamar neglected to mention whom he meant. Had Raul Castro made an appearance in the last eight days or done anything to demonstrate his hand on the rudder, no one would have to guess what the councillor meant. The younger brother of the Commandante has spent the last eight days as if he had a communicable disease rather than the reins of power.

Cuban authorities might want to keep themselves from straining a muscle in patting themselves on the back. They may need their strength for the moment when the Cubans finally tire of waiting for someone to show themselves as Fidel's placeholder.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 8, 2006 5:12 AM

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