October 10, 2006 [LINK / comment]

Is Fidel on his death bed?

Raul Castro, who has been serving as provisional leader of Cuba since the end of July, denies rumors that his big brother has terminal cancer. Suspicions have been fueled by the fact that "no new photographs of the leader have been released in three weeks. He was last shown receiving private visits by world leaders during the Nonaligned Movement summit." See CNN.com

The "Fourth Pioneer Congress" of Cuban youth just ended, and the thousand or so children who attended issued a manifesto proclaiming their eternal love for the Jefe Máximo; see Granma.

As Spain's long-time dictator Generalissimo Francisco Franco lay dying for months on end in 1975, Saturday Night Live made a big joke about it. (See answers.com.) Even though the two despots were ideological opposites, the parallels with Castro are quite striking...