Monday, July 31, 2006

Shucking Off the Mortal Coil

If anyone should want to send a get well card to Fidel Castro, now might be a good time. The ailing dictator has turned over power in Cuba to his younger brother Raul, no spring chicken at 75. Castro will be 80 on August 13. The obit writers are fleshing out their texts, though it is always possible that news of Castro’s imminent demise is greatly exaggerated. In the past, the Cuban dictator has survived exploding cigars and other novel attempts by freedom loving CIA agents to help him over the bar.

But age and stress, pulling us all sooner or later into the grave, has taken its toll. According to an AP report, stress “from recent public appearances in Argentina and Cuba” has led to gastrointestinal bleeding, never a good sign. Extreme stress, Castro said "had provoked in me a sharp intestinal crisis with sustained bleeding that obligated me to undergo a complicated surgical procedure."

The good news is that Castro is being tended by Cuban medical personnel, said by other dictators in Latin America to be the best in the world. Cuba’s health care is socialized – as indeed is everything on the island – and doctors have been sent out by Castro to other countries, preludes to the usual Latin American coups.
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