August 1, 2006


After power shift, no word on Castro's condition (FRANCES ROBLES, IDY FERNANDEZ AND MARTIN MERZER, 8/01/06,

After a night of unexpected news on the health of Cuban president Fidel Castro -- and spontaneous celebration among Cuban exiles in South Florida -- dawn brought quieter reactions and a question in both Miami's Little Havana and the actual Havana:

Would the announcement Monday night that Castro, 79, was temporarily stepping down from his presidential powers because of health concerns truly mean the end of his nearly 47-year reign?

Answers were slow in coming. Radio Havana offered no new information or commentary in its 7 a.m. broadcast -- merely a re-reading of Monday's announcement that the Cuban leader had undergone surgery to correct ``a sharp intestinal crisis with sustained bleeding.''

In Miami, the news that Castro, who will turn 80 in two weeks, would turn over power -- even temporarily -- to his brother Raul Castro, 75, had sparked a party atmosphere and immediate speculation that the widely despised Cuban leader was gravely ill, or dead.

Strike while the iron's hot.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 1, 2006 9:36 AM

Damn, think of all those liberal politicans and Hollywood celebrities who are going to have to start flying the extra distance to hang out in Caracas instead of Havanna.

Posted by: John at August 1, 2006 12:12 PM

He ain't dead yet, but is it too much to hope that Cuba's Model Universal Health Care System will quickly finish the job?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at August 1, 2006 12:16 PM

Hurry up and die already!

Posted by: Mike Morley at August 1, 2006 1:12 PM

George Felos, call your office.

Posted by: Just John at August 1, 2006 1:31 PM

Can we send Kevorkian as a "humanitarian" gesture?

Posted by: John Resnick at August 1, 2006 1:37 PM

Raoul: Sadly, that is too much to hope. The rules must change for the leader of the Leninist vanguard, don't you know. No doubt he's treated like a hypochondriac movie star, with the added feature that all medical personnel work under the threat of prison or death.

Posted by: PapayaSF at August 1, 2006 2:17 PM

If George Felos called a dehydrated, starving, brain-injured woman 'beautiful' in her death, then he would take one look at Castro and pronounce him a deity.

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 1, 2006 2:31 PM

Thanks for the post, OJ! Somehow it reminded me finally put "Weekend at Fidel's, um, Bernie's" in my Netflix queue.

Posted by: Rick T. at August 1, 2006 3:39 PM