Cuba Politics

Is Cuba preparing the world for the death of Fidel Castro?

Posted January 11, 2009 by publisher in Cuba Politics.

Rob Sequin | Havana Journal

Is Fidel Castro dead? Is Fidel Castro dying? Is this time different?

These are questions that have come up from time to time since July 2006 when Fidel Castro underwent surgery. If one reads between the lines, one might get the impression that Fidel Castro just might be dying because this time we are analyzing his words and those of his closest ally, Hugo Chavez.

Let’s review his latest Reflections and a comment today from Hugo Chavez stating that the world will never see Fidel in public again.

1. The last public photos of Fidel Castro were released on November 19, 2008 when he met with Chinese President Hu. We commented then that Fidel had looked terrible and even appeared to be holding back some drool. Those photos were a photo op for the world and all the preparation that would be justified could not even make Fidel look healthy.

2. Fidel’s last Reflection was dated December 15, 2008 referring to a December 10 BBC article and could have been written by an assistant with direction by Fidel. 

3. It is my belief that December 10, 2008 was Fidel Castro’s last real Reflection. It was a short Reflection of only 129 words after he received and award from CARICOM. Now we are over one full month since this last real time Reflection by Fidel. From what I can see from his list of Reflections, he has never gone for a month without writing. We may see another Reflection come out shortly but if it is “directed by” or “evergreen” in nature, I think it can be discounted since it most likely would have been written at some previous date in the past. Look through his list and separate the directed or evergreen Reflections from the real Reflections and you can see how infrequent his real Reflections have been for the past couple months. Lastly to this point, no other Reflection that we could find comes close to being as short as 129 words.

4. On December 31, 2008, the eve of the 50th anniversary of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel could only write “With the 50th anniversary of the triumph just a few hours away, I congratulate our heroic people.” That’s it. Well known journalist and Cuba expert Tracey Eaton commented on the brevity of the wording especially coming from the man that holds the record for the longest speech at the UN (4 hours and 29 minutes) and speaking even longer than that in 1986 for 7 hours and 10 minutes. Fidel Castro has never made short speeches or wrote short Reflections.

5. Today Hugo Chavez said “That Fidel in his uniform who walked the streets and towns late at night, hugging the people, won’t return” in a radio speech today and that this image will have to “remain in memories”. He also said “Fidel will live forever, beyond the physical life”. These words sound to me as though he is preparing the word for a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.


I heard somewhere that people judge us by the words we use. Can we judge Fidel by the (lack of) words he uses?

Is Fidel Castro dead? Is Fidel Castro dying? Is this time different?

Maybe this is Fidel Castro’s last wish? grin

Member Comments

On January 12, 2009, grant frame wrote:

It is very clear. Note Hugo’s words. But his brand of liberal socialism will live on.

On January 12, 2009, Anatasio wrote:

We’ve known he’s been dying since 2006. That’s no surprise. As to whether Chavez’s announcement means it’s imminent - doubtful.

I’ll believe he’s dead when I see the body in a morgue drawer.

Don’t hold your breathes.

On January 12, 2009, Patricio wrote:

Private taxis again after a 10 year hiatus?  Raul talking about people not appreciating the benefits of the Revolution and as a consequence raising state salaries so that they can buy these benefits on the “market?”  Hmmm….sounds like either we are in a new “special period,” Fidel is dead, or both.  I don’t think Fidel made it to the 50th Anniversary.  Maybe he prayed to God that he would.  Maybe he is rotting in that special place in hell reserved just for him now.

On January 12, 2009, publisher wrote:

If he is dead, I think that Cuba will wait until Obama is sworn in as President. I don’t think they would want to give George Bush any satisfaction of having the ability to have any say in Cuba policy with only days left to his Administration.

On January 13, 2009, publisher wrote:

Here’s a much better review from the Latin America Herald International

Retired President Fidel Castro has gone four weeks without publishing any “Reflections” on current events and his last meeting with a visiting head of state was in November, prompting speculation both inside and outsideCuba about a possible deterioration in his health.

Now 82, Fidel effectively stepped down in July 2006 after being stricken with a serious gastrointestinal ailment. He was formally succeeded last February by younger brother Raul Castro.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that “the former Fidel, who went through the streets and towns at daybreak ... with his uniform and embracing the people. It won’t happen. It will remain a memory,” Chavez said during his Sunday radio and television program “Alo Presidente.”

The Cuban leader has not appeared in public for two-and-a-half years.

“Fidel’s going to live, as he is living and will always live, beyond physical life,” added Chavez, a devoted friend of the aging revolutionary andCuba’s staunchest ally.

The most recent of Fidel’s “Reflections” was published Dec. 15, and observers have been surprised by his silence on a number of developments that would ordinarily have elicited comment from the convalescing former president.

He did not even comment on the almost unanimous support that Cuba received at the three regional summits that took place in mid-December in Brazil where participants called on U.S. President-elect Barack Obama to lift the economic embargo that Washington has imposed on the communist-ruled island since 1962.

After in November receiving the leaders of China, Hu Jintao, and Russia, Dmitri Medvedev, there have been no reports of any officials meeting with Fidel Castro.

It is not known whether Castro has even met with friends or admirers, including two Latin American leaders who visited Cuba last week: Panamanian President Martin Torrijos and Ecuadorian leader Rafael Correa.

Amid the silence and with Chavez acting as Fidel’s unofficial spokesman, speculation has arisen abroad as to the state of the Cuban’s health.

Chilean Foreign Minister Alejandro Foxley last week did not rule out that his country’s president, Michelle Bachelet, could meet with the ailing leader during her trip toCuba in February, but he revealed that such a meeting had not been included on the agenda because of Castro’s “delicate state of health.”

In Havana, observers and analysts emphasize that the former head of state had just written a 16-word message to congratulate the Cuban people on Jan. 1 on the 50th anniversary of the revolution he led to topple dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959.

The central event of the anniversary, in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, was austere and low-profile after a tough year on the economic front for the island, which also saw three hurricanes sweep across the country causing damage amounting to some $10 billion.

Current President Raul Castro spoke then about the tasks facing the “leaders of the future.”

On January 13, 2009, Patricio wrote:

Either way, the puppet masters seemed to have ensured an orderly transition from Fidel to Raul.  Remember when speculation first occured that he was dead and the jubilation that hit the streets of Miami?  Would that happen now?  I don’t think the euphoria would be nearly as much as the lil’ bro’ has been sitting in power now for 2 1/2 years.  We all knew that this was the design of Fidel to ensure that the regime would stay in power.  Nothing like dead-hand control.  We are going to have to hope that people in Cuba feel confident towards working for change with Fidel out of the way.

On January 13, 2009, JOttawa wrote:

Fidel Castro ie already dead and the official announcement by the Cuban Government will be made on January 19th or 20th when the whole world will be focused on Obama’s inuguration.

On January 13, 2009, publisher wrote:

You’re saying this to be funny because that’s how Fidel would have liked it?

On January 14, 2009, publisher wrote:

Where is Fidel? by the Sun Sentinel is the latest to wonder what is going on in Cuba.

The article states that increased security on the streets of Havana would be an indication of Fidel’s death and I would agree with that UNLESS the Cuban government now knows this so they AREN’T adding security just so the extra police presence is not interpreted as a sign the Fidel has died.

I know, I’m reading into this too much but I am eagerly awaiting the day before, day of and day after Obama’s inauguration to hear if the BIG NEWS will come out of Cuba.

On January 16, 2009, Patricio wrote:

It will be interesting to see what, if anything, is said come early next week or shortly beyond.  Then agian, maybe announcing his death on Monday would up-end some of the attention for the Obama inauguration.  Not that the old man would care about this, but he might not be able to resist one final jab.

On January 17, 2009, Hans Rademaker wrote:

If Fidel is dead, or not, the Revolution will continue. Fidel always said he is not bigger then the Revolution itself. His efforts to free the Latin American world from US interference will be remembered for always. VIVA FIDEL.

On January 17, 2009, publisher wrote:


Fidel Castro good.

US evil.


I’ve heard that before.

How many people are trying to get into Cuba if it’s such a paradise?

Oh right, Cuba is poor because of the US Embargo otherwise it would be the greatest nation on earth.



On January 18, 2009, Hans Rademaker wrote:

Strong answer. Thanks for sharing ! One thing is right: US evil.