Monday, April 30, 2007

¡Socialismo hasta muerte!

Venezuelan autocrat Hugo Chávez held a press conference yesterday to announce that elderly Cuban dictator Fidel Castro is "in charge" once again after nearly 10 months out of power following botched intestinal surgery. Chávez went on to quote his sycophantic Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales by saying that Castro will be present in Havana for Cuba's unintentionally retro-kitsch Soviet style May Day parade.

There has been no apparent comment yet from Fidel's younger (but still elderly) brother Raúl, who assumed Fidel's title and duties when the caudillo went under the knife in July. If you think Raúl is disappointed, imagine how Cuban dissidents and journalists feel about the end of Raúl's modest experiments with liberalization.

Before his hospitalization, Fidel had moved past late North Korean tyrant Kim Il-Sung for the title of the 20th century's longest reigning leader with 47 years in power. While Fidel does not appear to be dying of cancer, he is 80 years old, which is fairly old even by communist dictator standards. Will there be a backlash by Castro? A backlash against Castro? Will Fidel attempt to pretend this interregnum never even occurred? It's all too soon to say, but if Fidel really is back, we can all look forward to rich western Marxists creaming their jeans in delight at Cuba's extended date with repression and poverty.

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