Saturday, September 16, 2006

"Noticias adversas"

Of course, it could all be an elaborate ruse from that grand master of a death foretold.

But the facts speak for themselves: six weeks or so after undergoing surgery that was described by those around him as delicate but not life-threatening, Fidel Castro remains too ill to appear in public.

Sure, there have been plenty of stage-managed visits by selected “friends”, faithfully recorded on video and still photographs by the regime’s extensive and relentless propaganda machine.

But come crunch time, it was a no show by the 80-year-old dictator.

Despite earlier suggestions of a surprise appearance, Castro failed to turn up at the official opening of the Summit of the Non Aligned Movement in Havana today – the largest gathering of world leaders ever to take place in communist Cuba.

For a man who has spent much of his life basking in the limelight and manipulating the media not to make even a brief personal appearance at the biggest show in town can only mean one thing: whatever ails Castro is serious. Real serious.

Time will tell.


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