Fidel, Alive and Kicking

by STEPHEN LENDMAN

Responding in longer form to erroneous reports of his death, Mark Twain was quoted saying, “Reports of my death were greatly exaggerated.”

The same holds for Fidel Castro. Earlier reports pronounced him dead or dying. Each one was false. Given their source, they were little more than wishful thinking. Dark forces wanted Castro eliminated for decades. Even in semi-retirement they want him gone.

In July 2006, he transferred power to his brother Raul because of gastrointestinal surgery. He did so in accordance with Article 94 of Cuba’s Constitution.

It states “in cases of the absence, illness or death of the president of the Council of State, the first vice president assumes the president’s duties.”

Castro recovered well. It took time but generally does for people in their 80s. Born in August 1926, he’s now 86 years old. Age slows everyone. At the same time, they often stay active and alert. Some do it past age 100. Hopefully Fidel is one.

Without positive confirmation, take current reports of his health with a grain of salt. On October 11, Castro’s son Alex denied reports about his father’s failing health. “El Comandante is well,” he said. He goes “about his daily business reading (and) doing his exercises.”

Castro’s sister Juanita, a Miami resident, said rumors about Fidel’s health are false. They’re “not true. These are pure rumors. It’s all absurd,” she said.

On Saturday, former Venezuelan vice president, Elias Jaua, met with Fidel at Havana’s Hotel National. Photos he took showed him smiling and in good health. Jaua said he was lucid and looked fine.

Hotel general manager, Antonio Martinez Rodrigue, also met with him. He told reporters, “Yes he was here (Saturday), the same old Fidel with his beard and pink cheeks. He was fine.”

Cuban television reported the meeting. The announcer said, “The national press will publish (Monday) an article of Fidel’s, along with pictures of his meeting with the former Venezuelan vice president.”

On October 19, Public Health Minister Roberto Morales read Fidel’s congratulatory message to graduating medical students. More on what he said below.

The Havana Times headlined “Fidel Resurrects Himself Again,” saying:

Comments about Fidel’s health began “circulating on the Internet for several days….Dissidents and (Castro haters) were already celebrating the death of someone who has more lives than 10 cats added together.”

“(H)e’s still here alive and kicking. Fidel has been killed (100s of failed times) by the anti-Cuban mafia….Once again Fidel has died, this time in Twitter messages (and) word of mouth….(He like everyone) will die when his time comes.”

Hopefully, he has many productive years left. He’s needed to write articles like “The roads leading to disaster.” We need the spirit that liberated Cuba from imperial America, police state rule, and mafia bosses who turned the nation into a casino and brothel.

Cubans may want change, but won’t tolerate recolonization under puppets serving Washington and US corporate interests. Fidel won’t live forever. No one does. Hopefully he’s well, vibrant, and will keep expressing important views for years to come.

After leading Cuba for decades, surviving hundreds of US attempts to kill him, a punishing embargo, and numerous other hostile acts, illness forced him to step down. As far as known, it hasn’t dulled his spirit or determination to spread vital truths.

His most recent writing showed his intellect remains perceptive, and his knowledge of vital issues is impressive. His honesty and integrity are impeccable. His forthrightness is noteworthy. So is his fear of an inevitable disaster.

Ignore him at our peril. “As far as I am concerned,” he said, “I do not harbor the slightest doubt that the United States is about to commit, and lead the world toward, the greatest error in its history.”

He believes Iran is ground zero. He thinks nuclear war is possible. It’s inevitable eventually, he said. It can be global or one-on-one by one nation on another.

The unthinkable may, in fact, happen. It’s vital to know because it’s possible. Castro speaks and writes with the wisdom of the ages. He says what he believes forthrightly. He disdains fork-tongued commentaries. He speaks freely and tells it straight.

He and Chavez are exceptions who prove the rule. They’re people oriented leaders. They’re polar opposite neoliberal/belligerent/corrupt ones infesting America, Europe and Israel.

If all nations had leaders like them, peace would triumph over war, social needs would be prioritized, policies would lift all boats, and government would be of, by and for everyone. Imagine the type world most people want to live in. Leaders favoring it are too important to lose. Many more are needed.

On October 19, The New York Times headlined “Another Day, Another Claim That Castro Is Really Dead,” saying:

Rumors circulate like tropical storms. They come and go. A Florida doctor floated the latest one. Based on his earlier false claims, place little credence in this one.

In April, Naples, FL Venezuelan Dr. Jose Marquina, a sleep specialist, claimed Chavez was cancer-stricken and dying. He just completed a vigorous campaign.

It culminated in being reelected president for another six years. He’s cancer-free, vibrant, ready to lead, and eager to do more for all Venezuelans. Mostly he prioritizes people needs. So does Castro.

The Miami Herald quoted Marquina saying Castro suffered a stroke. He’s near “a neurovegetative state,” he claimed.

“He suffered an embolic stroke and recognizes absolutely no one…The people with a condition of this nature have difficulty eating and, of course, they end up with total deficit in their neurologic capacities.”

He’s home in El Laguito, Havana, receiving constant, specialized care. “He could last weeks like that, but what I can say is that we’ll never again see him in public.”

“He is not receiving artificial respiration and is not connected to tubes, as some have said. What’s probably true is that Castro is being fed through nasogastric tubes.”

Unexplained was where his information came from. Perhaps he made it up. Maybe his imagination ran wild. It ran away from him on Chavez.

On October 19, when confronted outside his home and asked to explain, he said, “No, no, no, no, no. I’m not doing interviews.” Apparently he wants things quieted down.

Pay close attention to what Castro family members and others close to him say. Health is very personal for most people. They prefer not having reports about it made public. Their right deserves to be respected.

Castro family and Cuban government officials deny reports about Fidel’s impending demise. On October 19, Havana’s Foreign Ministry used Twitter to denounce the latest one.

It was falsely attributed to Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla. Misinformation under his name pronounced Castro dead. Whoever sent it got Parrilla’s Twitter handle wrong.

All that’s known is that Castro’s been less visible recently. That alone proves nothing. Speculation without facts is more disservice than helpful. Believe nothing without corroborating evidence.

If Castro is alive and well, perhaps he’s slowed and taking a break. He or those close to him will explain in due time as they see fit. It’s their right. Until then, assume nothing circulating online or reported by scoundrel media.

A Final Comment 

Below are excepts from Castro’s comments to graduating medical students. They’re headlined “Message from Fidel: To the graduates of Victoria de Giron Institute of Basic Sciences and Preclinical Studies.”

“Allow me to recall that five decades ago, during a public event in the presence of the first students of this prestigious institution, some from other universities and students at nursing colleges, this educational institute was inaugurated in response to the criminal action on the part of the neighboring empire, to take away, as it did with promises of visas and employment, the majority of the country’s 6,000 doctors.”

“The Victoria de Girón Institute of Basic Sciences and Preclinical Studies marked the beginning of our massive training of doctors.”

“I congratulate everyone on this 50th anniversary and, in particular, the founding members of the Victoria de Girón Institute of Basic Sciences and Preclinical Studies, who merit special congratulations.”

“They have honored those who, more than 50 years ago and at the cost of countless lives, demonstrated, to the powerful yanki empire, the response which anyone who might attempt to enslave our people would receive.”

“I hope you will continue harvesting successes in the noble and humane task to which you have dedicated your lives.”

“Fraternally,

Fidel Castro Ruz

October 17, 2012″

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

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