Monday, September 11, 2006

Guessing games

Will he show up or won’t he?

The big news from Havana is whether Fidel Castro will show up at any of the many non-events scheduled for the Summit of the Non Aligned Movement, which kicks off today in Havana.

At least that’s the news that seems to interest Western correspondents on the island, accustomed as they are to being treated like mushrooms by the Castro regime’s propaganda machine – in the dark and fed bullshit.

With 50 or so heads of State and government expected in Havana for the Summit, there is some speculation among correspondents that the ailing, 80 year old dictator may just make a public appearance at some stage during the talkfest – if only to prove to those nasty imperialists that he is alive.

It will be quite a propaganda coup if Castro does appear in public given he has been in virtual hiding since the end of July 31 when it was announced unexpectedly that the man who has ruled Cuba for 47 years was to undergo delicate surgery and therefore, was handing over power “temporarily” to his younger brother, Raul.

Typically, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Felipe Perez Roque, has refused to confirm which of the Castros will be on show during the Summit. State secrets, you understand.

Asked whether Castro the Elder would host the traditional dinner for visiting dignitaries, Perez Roque replied: "I cannot yet confirm his presence at the dinner. I can confirm that the head of the Cuban delegation at that moment will be offering those dignitaries that dinner.”

Clear as mud?

Still, Castro has built his whole career on the basis of keeping the West guessing. On that front at least, nothing has changed.


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