Who Is This Guy?

Fidel Castro was on TV in Cuba last night.

At least they said it was him. I have it on good authority that it’s not really Fidel but his older brother Ramon, who looks amazingly like him. In reality, Fidel Castro checked out sometime last summer and they’ve been using Ramon ever since.

It was the first interview that he — whoever he is — has granted since he turned over power to his other brother Raúl.

His face seemed more filled out than in recent photographs, and he smiled often but spoke slowly and in short phrases, slurring his words at times and drawing labored breaths. The interview appeared to have taken place in the same room as his April meeting with a Chinese delegation — a room the Beijing media said was in a hospital.

Castro mentioned twice that he had been in an intensive care unit recently but gave no details and said he had been “doing what I’m supposed to” to regain his health.

He spent most of the time talking about the past, saying nothing about when or if he would resume office.

In that respect, he didn’t sound a whole lot different than some of the people here in Little Havana who spend most of their time reminiscing about the good old days.

But you wonder what’s going to happen when they run out of brothers.

Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.



Filed under 06_bobby

12 responses to “Who Is This Guy?

  1. Oh Fidel has since joined Che in revolutionary heaven. There is no way he could have survived…

  2. NonyNony

    Are you being serious about this? Is it really going to be easier for Raul to rule Cuba pretending to be Fidel than it would for him to just say that his brother has died? Is the transition expected to be that chaotic? And if so, would this fool anyone who might be getting ready to perform a coup?

  3. Nony, the scuttlebutt – chisme – is that Fidel took a dirt nap last year and they’ve been using his brother as a stand-in. This isn’t the first time Ramon has filled in.

    My source is someone who claims to know everything about it…

    It’s better than the Weekend At Bernie’s approach, I guess.

  4. has anyone tried playing the interview backwards? maybe there are some clues to be had there.

  5. NonyNony

    MustangBobby –

    Okay, but that still doesn’t really answer the question of “Why?” It seems like an awfully convoluted plan, doesn’t it? What are the potential pitfalls for the new government if Fidel is dead? Do his brothers think that there would be a coup against them? If so, led by whom? I wouldn’t think that something like this would be expected to fool the high-ups in the Cuban government, so it would have to be for the citizens and (maybe) for US consumption. Are they scared of a coup attempt from the US?

    I just don’t see the logic in pretending that Fidel is still alive if he’s dead. Maybe there’s something about Cuban politics that I’m not getting, but it sounds a bit too elaborate to be necessary.

  6. It’s the cult of personality that’s grown up around Fidel. For about half a century he has been the state of Cuba. Not just the president, not just the most visible person on the island, but the whole state has been so identified with him personally that admitting his death might give rise to some serious instability. I’m sure they want to control the message properly so that it causes as little disturbance as possible, but they haven’t been able to figure out how quite yet, thus the charade.

    The above is also assuming for the sake of argument that he is in fact dead. Hugo Chavez would disagree that he is, I think.

  7. MB — unless you have something more solid than “I heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend” then it’s just another nutty conspiracy theory.

  8. Dr. Loveless

    Maybe Raul secretly contracted with Disney to have an animatronic Fidel built.

    If he is dead, it wouldn’t surprise me that the regime is trying to hide it. In the ’80s, when pre-Gorbachev Soviet leaders started falling ill and dying, they tried to keep it a secret as long as possible. I believe Yuri Andropov was officially sick with “a cold” for almost a year.

    As for Cuba, I doubt the current regime will survive Fidel. Raul might be able to hold it together, but he doesn’t have the personality cult to support him — and besides, he’s old too. One Fidel is unquestionably gone, I suspect a combination of U.S. pressure and uncorked popular discontent will force the old guard from power.

  9. Nony, did you miss the fact that Castro officially handed over most of his power to his brother Raul? From the article:

    “But he provided no hint on whether he planned to return to power and made no mention of his brother Raúl, who assumed most of Castro’s powers July 31 after he underwent surgery for what is now widely believed to be diverticulitis, an intestinal condition that can lead to fatal bleeding.”

    No one is pretending that he’s still in power.

  10. Nony:

    I just don’t see the logic in pretending that Fidel is still alive if he’s dead. Maybe there’s something about Cuban politics that I’m not getting, but it sounds a bit too elaborate to be necessary.

    Logic doesn’t really play much of a part in the Cuban exile mentality about Castro. The only thing comparable I’ve seen to it is a Freeper thread about Hillary, and Moira is right; the entire Cuban revolution is a cult of personality, as is the United States policy toward Cuba. In this case, it’s the exact opposite of what Michael Corleone said: “It’s not business. It’s strictly personal.”


    My tongue was firmly planted in my cheek when I wrote the post.

  11. markbt73

    Well, if they run out of brothers, there’s always Richard Dreyfuss

  12. NonyNony

    Moira –

    No, I got that. That was part of what makes the idea of “fake Fidel” so baffling – who would it be fooling? If Raul’s got the power and there are no pretenses about Fidel still being in charge, why bother with such an elaborate charade? It just seems like a weird conspiracy theory.

    MustangBobby –

    I’m glad it was tongue in cheek – I couldn’t quite tell from the original post that you thought it was a gag. I think I read too many conspiracy theory sites these days…

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