Surprise, surprise ...
Local officials in Santiago, the second largest city in Cuba, have just nominated Fidel Castro as a “candidate” for the grandly-named National Assembly of People’s Power.
The National Assembly, whose members are elected every five years by municipal delegates, sits just twice a year. And although its members are supposed to be independent and fearless representatives of the People, they always seem to vote in accordance to instructions from the Communist Party hierarchy, giving a whole new meaning to the term rubber-stamp parliament.
Despite this, the news that Castro has been “nominated” has sent the foreign media based in Havana into a frenzy.
The general consensus among them is that by being nominated for a seat, Castro is likely to be re-elected Head of State for the next five years - despite the fact that 81-year-old dictator is so sick he has not made a public appearance for 18 months.
Still, you’ve got to admire the way the Western media have managed to give the impression ordinary Cubans actually have a say on whether Castro gets to be re-elected or not.
Guys, the whole thing is a well-orchestrated charade, played out by highly experienced actors at the top and a reluctant but resigned cast of 11 million badly-paid extras.
The fact is that Castro would not have been nominated by those poor buggers in Santiago unless they had been told to do so.
As for whether Castro will get "elected" to the National Assembly ... I leave you with this quote from the Cuban vice-president, the colourless Carlos Lage, who has told reporters apparently with a straight face, that now the old man had been nominated, "I am sure he will be elected."
You can put your house on it.