Talkin' trash to the garbage around me.

20 January, 2007

A lonely way to die

Amid the mercurial details concerning Castro's health, this paragraph caught my eye:
Dr Garcia Sabrido's prognosis has changed little since December 26 when, on his return from examining Castro, he said the leader did not have cancer and could even return to power. Castro's medical condition is a state secret, but Cuban authorities deny he has terminal cancer.

I'm taking it as a given that Castro in dying, and that the Cuban state has every reason to keep his health a secret. Their non-denial denial, "Of course he's not dying of terminal cancer, don't be foolish!" doesn't fool anyone. Likely he's slowly dying of an infection that his body just can't fight off - much the same way Pope John Paul II went. Castro's on old man, for chrissakes!

How bitterly terrifying it must be for him - he is the lynchpin of a charismatic cult of state. His longevity is of such significance that his enemies and his allies (except for the closest) are denied the opportunity for any resolution to their relationships with him - or he with them. Contrast this with the throngs who flocked to Rome to hold vigil with the pontiff in his final hours. Regardless of my feelings about that particular human being or the institution he represented, it was a powerful thing to witness.

Rightly or wrongly, Castro would probably have those crowds making their peace with him were his condition revealed. Unfortunately, it would also unleash the ambitions of a thousand enemies - of Castro and of Cuba. I'm wondering if this is how he imagined his last days, of necessity quarantined away from "the people."

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