September 22, 2007

It ... Is ... Alive!

All of those Fidel Castro death pools will go unpaid, at least for now. The Cuban dictator appeared in a taped interview on state-run television, looking frail but clearly alert:

Fidel Castro appeared on Cuban television for the first time in three months since he underwent intestinal surgery in July.

In a taped interview, Mr Castro, 81, looked frail but alert and laughed off speculation that he was on his death bed after a long absence from public view.

"They say 'I was dying' and 'if I die' and 'I will die the day after tomorrow' or something," he said in the interview.

The news will disappoint some who had hoped that Cuba could liberate itself after Fidel's death. The Cuban ex-patriate community had heard rumors of Castro's room-temperature status for weeks, but they turned out to be false. Instead, the dictator laughed at the speculation, having beaten the odds, albeit with a large amount of foreign medical intervention.

However, while Fidel still lives, his grip on power has not. According to a new book about Castro, he has already permanently transferred authority to his younger brother Raul and does not expect to return to office:

The new book Without Fidel, by CBS television correspondent Ann Louise Bardach, reveals that Castro has permanently ceded effective power to his brother Raul - not on the temporary basis that Cuban authorities claim.

It confirms that when the dictator disappeared from public view this summer he was undergoing treatment for an illness that is expected to kill him.

Fidel wants to outlast George Bush's term in office, but Raul doesn't appear to have the same level of spite. According to the Telegraph, Raul has quietly begun releasing dissidents from prison and looking to Vietnam as a model for emerging from harsh communism to open markets. He has even begun approaching the US to improve relations and to get assistance in transitioning away from Fidelism.

If true, Fidel may not just survive Bush, but also live long enough to see his work discredited by his own brother. That may not be a full measure of justice for Fidel, but it would provide a healthy sting to the dictator as he shuffles off this mortal coil.


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Comments (8)

Posted by Doug | September 22, 2007 10:44 AM

FYI: Wasn't his initial treatment, and the transfer of power, in July, 2006? I think he's been out of power, and almost out of sight, for more than a year not just three months.

Posted by Rod | September 22, 2007 11:23 AM

Regarding the transfer of power to his Brother Raul; It's amusing that the Workers' Paradise has turned into a hereditary monarchy.

Marx would be disappointed-no matter where Communism is tried, that pesky State just never manages to wither away.

Posted by Fausta | September 22, 2007 11:39 AM

Rod's correct. Castro hasn't appeared in person for 14 months.

I've been following this story all along and, one interesting thing about these Fidel "sightings" is that every Friday there's a rumor he's dead, or a new article, video, or photo-op showing he's alive.

It all boils down to propaganda and how the media's lending itself to manipulation.

Posted by wayne | September 22, 2007 11:53 AM

One wonders how many Cubans "volunteered" for organ "donation" to keep this piece of crap alive...

Posted by Bennett | September 22, 2007 11:58 AM

Fidel wants to outlive the Bush presidency? Well I guess that's some kind of goal. But not exactly a long term one since Bush is out in 18 months or so. Maybe Fidel should shoot for something a little further out: like he wants to live to see the first manned Mars landing or he wants to live to see the Tampa Bay Devil Rays win a World Series or he wants to live to see the first Christian church built in Saudia Arabia.

Well, then again, maybe not. Another 18 months to wait? We can probably all live with that.

Posted by GarandFan | September 22, 2007 12:52 PM

If I were Raul, I'd watch my back.

Posted by J | September 22, 2007 1:02 PM

Has anyone notified Michael Moore that Fidel got medical help from "foreign medical intervention," that is, doctors outside Cuba? Hmmmm I wonder why - could it be that the top of the Cuban 3-tiered system, the one reserved for bigshots, actually stinks? Maybe it doesn't work?

Just wondering.

Posted by burt | September 22, 2007 8:22 PM

A guy diagnosed with terminal cancer doesn't usually have a life expectancy of three years. He has survived half that long. I'm not expecting to see a video of his cheering in January 2009.

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