05 November 2006

Proof of Life

The Miami Herald tells us that Castro “is very sick”. As evidenced by the recently released video that shows Castro performing some rehearsed tricks for the cameras.

The Cuban Ministry of Truth tells the world that Castro is recuperating from intestinal surgery but that his condition remains a “State Secret”. They say that he will return to power soon.

Last month, rumors started circulating that Castro was at death’s door, perhaps even dead, which prompted the Cuban regime to release a “proof of life” video , complete with the day’s newspaper to prove to the Miami Mafia that Castro was indeed alive.

The MSM immediately and gleefully reported that the Cuban Comandante was breathing triumphantly and that he had once again proved his critics “wrong”. Without getting into an ideological condemnation of the MSM, its difficult to understand how they accept “the official truth” released by a totalitarian regime as news and not the propaganda that it is.

An objective analysis of the video and the facts would have yielded quite different headlines, something which is now starting to happen.

The video itself:

On face value, we see a senior citizen, rambling and so short of breath that his sentences fade into inaudibility. Now, let’s put the video and its production into perspective. This video was not continuously shot . It was highly edited and in some cases dubbed over so you could not hear the ex-dictator’s ramblings. This is evidence that they most likely shot lots and lots of video and edited the footage so that was aired showed the aging tyrant in the best possible scenes. That sad and pathetic performance was the best they could get out of Castro, possibly after hours of filming. The highlights! Imagine the out takes? The fatigue clad, mighty revolutionary firebrand is now humiliatingly relegated to appear on Cuban State TV in his new role of “Mascot of the Revolution” in an Adidas tracksuit and slippers. So the video, rather than prove his critics wrong, actually reaffirmed the rumors that Castro’s health is on a downward decline and he will never return to power. The video proved he is not fit to drive a car much less run a totalitarian government. It disproved a rumor he was dead, started by the Cuban ally, Lula da Silva, the Brazilian leftist president and another rumor that he was in a coma, spread by a Contacto, a California magazine which claimed “sources in the circles of power” inside Cuba. So basically, the video proved that rumors that were probably started by the regime itself were wrong. What wasn’t proven wrong are the rumors that Castro is suffering from terminal cancer and Parkinson’s . Smoke, mirrors, propaganda and useful idiots.

There are other clues that can be garnered from the video about Cuba’s governmental situation. For example, in the piece that aired, Castro says that he helps the comrades in the party with their decision making, not his brother Raul. Edited out or forgotten , it doesn’t matter. Raul’s omission from the video is important because it undermines his position of leadership since it suggest that the country’s problems are being handled by a committee of “comrades”. Also, Ricardo Alarcon, President of the Cuban Parliament who just the week before was quoted as saying that when Castro dies, the party will elect a successor , Carlos Lage, Cuban Vice-President and Felipe Pérez Roque Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister, all seemed to be out of the loop about the video’s release when they were asked about it. One can see that, in this context, the video also confirms the persistent rumors that Raul’s coup has not gone as smoothly as he had hoped. Who produced the video and omitted to mention the new dictator or forget to inform the Vice-President and Foreign Minister? Valdez the new Information Minister?

Also the video has shed some light on another source of recent rumors about where Castro is recuperating. An ex-Castro bodyguard, Carlos Sejas now exiled in Miami, confirmed on Mega TV’s Punto a Punto that he was sure that the footage was shot at the fourth floor of the Centro de Investigaciones Médico Quirúrgicas (CIMEQ) facility in Kohly, Habana, Cuba. This facility is just a few miles away from the Castro compound, dubbed “Punto Cero” in Siboney. The fourth floor is exclusively reserved for Castro and his family.

When you compare the Castro images form the recent video shoot to the ones that were released nearly three months ago, it is obvious that rather than recuperating as the Cuban regime claims, Castro's health has actually declined. He appeared less lucid and had more trouble controlling his movements that when he met with Hugo Chavez, for example. A patient who is recuperating from surgery, should get progressively better, not worse as is the case with Castro. In the Miami Herald piece, University of Miami gastroenterologist Dr. Jeffrey Raskin and Dr. Charles Gerson, also a gastroenterologist at Mount Sinai in New York say “that Castro's three-months-and-counting recovery suggest a serious illness, such as cancer.” ''Usually for a benign condition if you have surgery, after a month or six weeks you are back to normal,'' Gerson said. ``Three months after surgery, he should be better.''

So the “proof of life” Castro video, is really a “poof of rumors” video. It is also proof that the Cuban government is in internal disarray and that the different factions are still jockeying for position in a potentially dangerous and deadly power struggle . It is also proof that the regime’s lies and propaganda will continue and that the MSM will gleefully continue to parrot the lies and propaganda as news. The saddest proof however, is that to the totalitarian regime will use the individual, even its ailing ex-leader, to keep tightening its repressive grip on the population. The once mighty Comandante is now “Mascot of the Revolution”. How humiliating! How Fitting!

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