I may have Fidel Castro's number.
I keep looking for unambiguous evidence that the eighty-year old political genius is still alive. Every time I read a news tidbit from Cuba about the ailing Cuban president, I weigh it. Does it prove he's among the living?
Hard to say.
He makes no public appearances. He didn't even take his customary place in the reviewing stand for his country's May Day parade. He'd promised to appear--supposedly--to show that he was recovering his health.
In a recent interview Ricardo Alarcon, the president of Cuba's National Assembly said
carefully that he doesn't see Fidel very often but he's in contact with him.
I believe Castro's masterminding his own slow fade.
When he actually dies, he will do so behind screens of secrecy.
Of course Castro, a politician without parallel in recent history, may be dead already.
In any case, we may not know when he actually does pass.
Castro is likely using his death to his advantage: his final political gambit.
News tidbits that hint at his death include:
*the fact that he has not appeared in public for nine months, since he underwent emergency surgery on his intestines--for something mysteriously described as "not cancer".
*the fact that he has handed his power "temporarily" over to his less-charismatic brother Raul.
"the fact of the recently released photograph supposedly taken when Fidel was meeting with a Chinese delegation. The photo shows his eyes utterly inward looking and anguished as to sear all living things.
The man was looking at something too terrible to see. A world in which he no longer exists.
I couldn't look at Fidel's eyes.
I'm betting he was feverishly contemplating his own demise and trying to control all consequences.
Orchestrating things so that his power will not be usurped by his enemies. He is jockeying and tricking and sidestepping so that his legacy in his beloved Cuba will be stable.
Plotting his last days like a genius chess player. Manipulating his power to the end and beyond.
This is his brilliance. His strength.
A slow fade is much better for him than an abrupt death.
His slow fade makes post-Fidel Cuba less vulnerable to power plays from all sorts of enemies. He wants no internal revolutions, no invaders.
His slow fade gives the man time to strategise and to attempt to control every last detail
For starters: "temporarily" handing over his power to deputies accustoms his subjects to government by Fidel's handpicked successors--as if the successors were Fidel Castro himself.
Put another way: his slow fade makes his subjects become more and more comfortable about not seeing Fidel Castro in the flesh.
This state of affairs could last indefinitely.
Do you think Fidel Castro will appear in public again?