Fidel's Final Farce
Back in late September 2006 in The Partial Assassination of Castro, I presented evidence that Castro had probably been poisoned with a tasteless odorless poison called superwarfarin, had hemorrhaged profusely for a prolonged period, and had been brain damaged in the process. He has been living in a medical version of prison, unable to talk to the outside world lest he embarrass himself, Cuba and the cause of Communism.
Since then further evidence has supported that conclusion.
Even if Fidel Castro was brain damaged, that did not stop his brother and associates from creating a facade that Fidel was still in charge. In late March of 2006 Raul Castro and his cadre made the decision to engage in a disinformation campaign to make it look like Fidel was still running things. The Castro charade is like something out of weekend at Bernie's - except that Fidel didn't die.
Rumors of Castro's death have been even more frequent than sightings of Elvis. The Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte, said back in December 2006 that "Everything we see indicates it will not be much longer . . . months, not years" before Fidel was dead. Even last week Rush Limbaugh opined that Castro was dead.
Yet Fidel Castro is clearly not dead: He was repeatedly seen in new video as recently as last month. Brazil's President Lula de Silva met with Castro for more than 2 hrs. in mid January 2008 , but still they did not let Castro be heard on the video :
Still the mystery remained - why if he was alive, was he never seen in public?
If you have been a reader of To the Point or this website, you know the real story - a story that even Negroponte, with his vast intelligence resources and budget missed.
Back in late September 2006 in The Partial Assassination of Castro , I presented evidence that Castro had probably been poisoned with a tasteless odorless poison called superwarfarin, had hemorrhaged profusely for a prolonged period, and had been brain damaged in the process. He has been living in a medical version of prison, unable to talk to the outside world lest he embarrass himself, Cuba and the cause of Communism.
Since then further evidence has supported that conclusion.
Just look at the youtube from a month ago: video.  Castro is acting like a nut - and this is only the best few seconds of footage of the over 2 hour meeting. Imagine how bad the rest must meeting must have been!
Even if Fidel Castro was brain damaged, that did not stop his brother and associates from creating a facade that Fidel was still in charge. In late March of 2006 Raul Castro and his cadre made the decision to engage in a disinformation campaign to make it look like Fidel was still running things.
The Castro charade is like something out of weekend at Bernie's - except that Fidel wouldn't die, and no one was willing to kill him as long as the people of Cuba revered him and needed him to keep peace on the island. It was also feared that the death of Fidel might lead to an invasion by the US or expatriate Cuban Americans. Thus they wanted to keep the image Fidel alive.
In March of 2007 the people of Cuba were told he would be resuming power:
"Cuban leader Fidel Castro is recovering and could return to power "soon," Basic Industry Minister Yadira Garcia said on Tuesday. Speaking to reporters about Castro's health, Garcia said, "What we are expecting is that we will have him back with us, in a more active way, soon." "Our comandante is recovering, (and) his recovery process is making progress," Garcia said. "I would say that he is already with the leadership in deciding key issues and making the most important decisions in the country," the minister said. "We have been receiving his directions and instructions he gives, and the outlook is very good, very favorable," Garcia added.
They also kept the Fidel myth alive by ghost writing columns for Fidel. Starting in late March of 2007, a regular stream of articles were written and published. Castro's essays were called "Reflections of the Commander in Chief" demonstrating he was still in charge. They were published several times a week since late March 2007 in the Communist Youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde or Gramna. Current events were prominently featured in his commentaries. Fidel even endorsed a Clinton Obama ticket in our 2008 presidential election to show he was up on the latest news.
On the one year anniversary of his poisoning, he "wrote" an essay titled "The Eternal Flame":
"Today, I am bombarded with questions as to when I will take up again what some call power. ... What will I do? I will fight tirelessly as I have done my entire life," Castro said, adding that his brother, Raul, who has taken over as president, consults with him on "every important decision." Fidel's gravitas was thus shared with Raul and the Cuban status quo was maintained. Following Raul's orders was equivalent to following Fidel's since Fidel was consulted.
Another ploy used was to have Fidel meet for photo ops with select foreign leaders who could be trusted and bribed into silence. Hugo Chavez has been a prominent example. Since Fidel's proported demise Fidel has been seen meeting with four more Communist or Leftist leaders - all of which were seeking financial benefits from Cuba. They all had both political and financial incentives to be discreet. None of them wanted Castro to embarrass Communism, or to have Raul cancel their contracts for oil exploration.
In April of 2007 Fidel was photographed meeting with Wu Guanzheng, a member of the Chinese Communist Party's Politburo. Wu was there to meet with Raul Castro regarding financial ties with the PRC. Chinese officials have made acquisition of oil supplies a priority - especially from allies like Hugo Chavez, and the Castros of Cuba.
In June of 2007, Fidel was photographed meeting with Vietnamese Communist Party chief Nong Duc Manh. Similarly, Nong Duc Manh was there on financial business, seeking rights to do oil exploration in Cuba's Gulf of Mexico waters by Petrovietnam.
In September 2007, Angola's Communist President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos also came to cuba to sign cooperation agreements and met with Fidel. Santos was the Russian puppet in Angola that ultimately killed Savimbi and UNITA with extensive help from Russia and Cuba. Cuban troops fought in Angola for Santos. Santos pronounced Fidel to be "recovering, strong, enthusiastic".
In mid-January Brazil's leftist president Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva signed a deal where he offered Cuba millions of dollars in credit in exchange for the right to drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico. Silva traveled with the Petrobras chief Jose Sergio Gabrielli, who formalized plans for exploratory deep-water drilling for crude oil off Cuba's coast and for a lubricant factory on the island. Lula too was allowed to have a photo op with Fidel  as seen in the youtube.
Thus we have four Leftist/Communist leaders seeking oil rights and having cozy oil deals with Cuba, and playing along with the charade.
Fidel was supposedly writing profusely, but he could not be seen in public. He missed his August 13th birthday party. He missed the celebration of the anniversary of Cuba's revolution. He missed the one year anniversary of his medical emergency. Rumors of his demise were again circulating fiercely.
This led to obvious questions, and with the help of Chavez, the illusion of Fidel was maintained. In a surprise move, Fidel called in to Chavez's radio show to show he was OK. This allayed many of his supporter's fears to hear El Commandante carrying on a lively conversation. However, such a radio event would have been easy to rig. Sentences of Fidel speaking could have been taped and played in response to scripted questions and statements from Chavez. With Chavez as a willing accomplice, it was an easy matter to make Fidel sound like he was mentally all right.
Chavez had lied before - saying Fidel was fit enough to play baseball, jogging and as strong as the wood of the caguairin tree. He had specifically denied that Fidel had become a mental vegetable. To add to the macabre nature of Fidel's situation, Hugo Chavez said two days before Halloween 2006 that Castro was "walking about and goes out at night to visit the countryside, villages and towns," If one knew the whole story one could imagine his tortured soul walking rural Cuba in the darkness. However, since the truth was little known, it only added to the Fidel myth.
Keeping the charade going was a game that would have to end badly sooner or later. Perhaps Communist leaders competing for oil rights might become miffed and talk - or perhaps the truth would be accidentally leaked. Raul did not get along with Hugo Chavez very well, in part because both were in effect trying to succeed Fidel.
Furthermore, Raul Castro has been less an ideologue and more of a pragmatist than Fidel. Cuba has had free market reforms before when times were tough. However Fidel had repeatedly shut down the Cuban freedoms as soon as another Communist sugar daddy was available. At one time the sugar daddy was the Soviet Union. More recently it has been Hugo Chavez. Raul fund himself stuck between needing free market reforms for Cuba to survive without Chavez, and at the same time needing to placate Chavez ideologically for as long as possible.
By September 2007 Fidel had missed two of his birthdays. The ruse was wearing thin. Thus Raul and his cadre started preparing the mythic Fidel to step down gracefully.
Fidel started writing about how he would go into retirement:
A month later he wrote:
When an election was held in late January 2008, by the most remarkable of luck, Raul won a single percentage point more than Fidel did. No longer did Raul have to walk in shadow of Fidel. He had "won" in his own right. January 30, 2008 
Then last week, Fidel announced his retirement. Fidel would no longer be referred to as "El Commandante." Instead, he would be simply addressed as "Comrade Fidel" and will continue to "write" from his Cuban medical facility prison.
At the same time the pragmatic Raul set the stage for freedom of speech and free market reforms. He said he would bring about changes to make the Cuban government more efficient and the economy stronger. Raul said that it needs "a smaller number of central administration bodies and a better distribution of their functions." He called for changes "both spiritual and material, starting by boosting sustained economic growth.""Some small restrictions" on Cuba's economic system could be removed in the coming weeks. 
Raul said "We must not fear disagreement in a society like ours, in which due to its very essence there are no antagonistic contradictions because there are no social classes that create such things." Last July Raul even encouraged an open debate on shortcomings in the Cuban economy and asked for "structural and conceptual changes". He also apologized publicly for the excesses of the Stalinist purge of the 70's.  This cannot have pleased the hard line Communist Hugo Chavez.
In a phone call to Chavez's radio show laden with nervous laughter, Raul tried to make friendly with Chavez. Raul said "Fidel is watching you. If he didn't see the first part, it was because he was watching me." Even though Fidel wrote he would now be called "Comrade Fidel" Chavez still insisted that Fidel is still "El Comandante." 
As for the pseudo Fidel - his ghost writer was ready to take a break. Fidel "wrote": "I slept better than ever. My conscience was clear and I promised myself a vacation." Like a ghost released from its earthly task, he can now pass on the workload to his successor when it is convenient to do so. 
It could be announced that Fidel had suddenly suffered a stroke causing him to become brain damaged. Thus the charade could end. Still Fidel is useful because he can "write". Now that Raul has been legitimized by the election, and Fidel has peacefully retired, the charade is less needed but still useful. Raul said he would continue to consult Fidel on all major decisions of state. Raul said "Fidel is irreplaceable and the people will continue his work even when he is not physically here, because his ideas will always be present."  Thus Fidel is alive and still useful to Raul - as a mouthpiece for whatever reforms or changes Raul wants him to write about.
Changes in Cuba may be one of the things Castro "writes" about. China is an example of a fossilized Communist political structure with an apparently successful economic marketplace, and Raul has apparently learned from it. Don't be surprised if Fidel starts to write of a new somewhat freer marketplace in Cuba.
The press has been clueless as ever about the situation. CNN insisted that Fidel was still Fidel:
"Please say in our reporting that Castro stepped down in a letter he wrote to Granma (the communist party daily), as opposed to in a letter attributed to Fidel Castro. We have no reason to doubt he wrote his resignation letter. He has penned numerous articles over the past year and a half."
Last June President Bush was forced to admit that Negroponte's intelligence on Castro was wrong. He said "One day the good Lord will take Fidel Castro away." Perhaps now that Cuba and the Communist movement no longer needs Fidel so much, that can finally happen. Then perhaps the farce of Fidel will finally end.
25. Economist p49-52, Feb 23, 2008