Monday, August 14, 2006

News from Havana II

Nothing ever happens by accident in the Cuban media, which is tightly controlled by the regime. There are no coincidences. Everything is scripted, as exiled poet Raul Rivero has pointed out.

So, we can be sure that the “news” coming out of Havana over the past few hours is part of some carefully-scripted, officially-sanctioned play.

Here is what’s happened so far:

On Sunday morning, the newspaper of the Union of Communist Youth, Juventud Rebelde, publishes four photographs of Fidel Castro in an Adidas jogging suit. The man who has ruled Cuba with an iron fist for 47 long years looks ill, to be sure, but certainly not dead.

The paper also publishes a message supposedly from Castro, saying he is feeling very happy to have turned 80 – and that his health is now stable. But at the same time, he warns his followers to be ready for bad news (noticias adversas) at any time.

Then, within hours, Cuban national television shows film of Raul Castro, who is supposed to be in charge while his older brother recovers, welcoming the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, to Havana. This is the younger Castro’s first public appearance since taking over the top job.

Coincidental? Hardly.
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