Communist dictator Fidel Castro’s non-obituary is beginning to appear in newspapers, now that he has officially surrendered his position as president of Cuba.
Castro held the position, bayonet in hand, ever since he seized power in Cuba on New Year’s Day, 1959. The communist dynasty now falls to his brother Raul, 76 years young.
Despite keystone cop like attempts to remove the now ailing dictator and relieve Cuba of its incubus, the most serious of which was President John Kennedy’s Bay of Pig’s fiasco, Castro’s Cuba has been relatively free of the usual plots and mayhem associated with communist regimes.
Other communist leaders were not so lucky. Trotsky died at the hands of an assassin sent to Mexico by Stalin, who dispatched the war hero and party theoretician with a hatchet. Stalin, “the Breaker of Nations,” authorized the Great Purge of 1937-39, which eliminated opposition from the Old Bolsheviks, and anyone else he thought might oppose his steely will. Stalin himself was poisoned by his successor, Nikita Khrushchev, who was ousted from office and sent into exile by his successor, Leonid Brezhnev, he of the unruly eyebrows. The Communist succession in the Soviet Union reads like a page torn out of Suetonius’ “Lives of The Twelve Caesars,” madness piled on madness.
Remaining conspicuously loyal to Khrushchev, Brezhnev organized a plot to remove his former patron. In October 1964, while Khrushchev was on holiday, Brezhnev and his co-conspirators denounced Khrushchev before the Central Committee for immodest behavior, economic failures – though these, more properly, should have been laid at the feet of Lennin and Karl Marx – and voluntarism.
By the mid-1970’s Brezhnev had developed a narcotic dependence on sleeping pill, fed to him regularly by his nurse-companion; finally, his heart gave way, though not from any strain put on it by compassion and magniminity.
Not as deep a thinker as Trotsky, not quite as vicious as Stalin, Castro is the Brezhnev of Latin America. An egomaniac, he has lived a long life full of betrayals and plots, and he will die in his bedwith a smile on his face, a withered old man convinced that he has been faithful to the never ending revolution, if not to the real humane aspirations of the Cuban people.
A real obit whould cheer the sons of liberty everwhere on the planet.