Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Top Reasons I'm Skeptical About Fidel's Improvement

1.The initial postop reports read almost as if Fidel (whom I guess could be the Chuck Norris of Cuba) diagnosed and performed surgery on himself and then gave himself a clean bill of health while meeting with assorted other tinpot dictators and launching a continent-wide literacy program. (Chuck Norris, of course, wouldn't need to do all that because Chuck's intestines are under orders not to bleed.)

2.Those cheery photos, posted on the occasion of his 80th birthday, that seem to be trying to make him look like some kind of tropical Santa Claus. ( What's with the vivid red pajamas, for Pete's sake? You mean his whole wardrobe isn't olive drab?) If those apple cheeks weren't airbrushed, maybe that wedding gown in the post-bombing picture from Lebanon really did get blown out of the shop and land, stand down, in pristine condition in the middle of the street.

3. That photo op with Mad King Hugo of Venezuela. Was it Reutered, or wasn't it? And if it wasn't, has anybody noticed another occasion on which Fidel failed to cast a shadow? Could he be...undead? Or has Hugo joined with the inner circle there in a grand production of Weekend at Fidel's? (For the definition of Reutered, and additional commentary on the mystery of the shadows, see the combox to the post. I wish I could claim originality for the vampire theory and the Weekend at Bernie's analogy, but others who are cleverer than I originated those.)

4. See D's post below.

5a. All is sweetness and light in the Workers' Paradise according to Granma Online. (Like that's new.) Fidel and Raul chat placidly together for hours on end like those old codgers in Secondhand Lions while peace reigns in the streets, youth swear eternal allegiance to the Revolution, and 80th birthday parties are celebrated as far away as Harlem. (Yeah, the one in New York.) Half the world strives to outdo the other half with increasingly absurdly ostentatious 'Get Well' displays. (John Paul the Great never saw the like of some of these, and was probably grateful.) Should that fanged maniac Bush try to invade, the Army of the Revolution is ready for him. Why Bush would want to give himself the trouble is a mystery into which Granma never delves.

5b. Darn thing about Granma. Normally the headlines are all about the latest miracles over which Fidel has presided, and how awful the news is in the United States (and occasionally, other free republics.) Well, the requisite bad-news-for-us story is there (an updated casualty count from Iraq) and they even graciously threw in one on Obrador's grandstanding in Mexico. Fidel, however, is conspicuously inconspicuous on the front page as the various triumphs of his wannabees Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales are given priority instead. Now I know he's not gonna be doing much heavy lifting after major surgery, but--why so little news? I mean, over here we had LBJ hiking the pajama top to show off his surgical scar. We hear more about our heads of states' medical histories than most of us want to know. Why no physicians' report? And why does Raul suddenly seem to be the one doing all the talking when fresh out of surgery it was the man himself?

5c. 5 a & b were drawn from Granma posts up over the weekend; I just went over there to copy the link. One of today's headlines is on a photo exhibit of Castro's life "attended by more than 100 people!" Why is this starting to feel like a setup?

I'll refrain from making any assumptions or placing bets as I can't afford to lose the money and I'm not keen on having to make myself a tinfoil hat. The old crumpet may yet resurrect--but I have a feeling that in the meantime he's got his cronies sweating.

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