LA ALBORADA: The one life and many deaths of Fidel Castro
- LA ALBORADA
Cuban American Alliance Education Fund
The one life and many deaths of Fidel Castro
0La Alborada - Sep 1
August was a busy month for rumor-mongers who took up the news of Fidel Castro's latest death. It's nothing new: at least 20 years ago a supermarket tabloid published a front-page photograph of Fidel lying in a coffin. These days, however, email and social networking help rumors spread wildly through the magic of personal blogs and the Forward button.
Just as a stopped clock gives the correct time twice a day, one day the recurring rumor will turn out to be true. So far, that has not been the case.
The rumor frenzy took hold when Fidel became ill and was operated and hospitalized years ago. We present below a short and partial history of how the story has developed since then.
November 2006 - The blog ALD asks whether Fidel Castro has died, and publishes a photograph of Fidel in his casket, the same photo that will reappear in 2008, 2009 and 2011. The photo shows the body dressed in a kind of chemise of white lace and satin, an unlikely final garment for the Commander of the Revolution.
December 2006 - The blog Noticiero Cuba (Cuba Newsletter) asserts that "According to a source close to the Cuban regime with total credibility, to which Noticiero Cuba had access, Fidel Castro has died. The news has not been reported in Havana while awaiting the results of the Venezuelan elections, they do not want the news to interfere in the results, but all seems to indicate that it will be announced soon." The post does not make clear just how close is a source "close to the regime." It does include the photo of November.
January 2007 - In Spain, the newspaper El País warns of a virus that is being distributed through an email with the subject "Fidel Castro has died."
August 2007 - Posting the same photo of 2006, a blog declares that "With the death of Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolution has ended, the Cuban people do not have the same respect for or fear of Raul Castro as they had for the Commander."
June 2008 - The blog Mundo Parapsicológico (Para-psycological World) announces as a scoop that it has received from Cuba a photo of Fidel in his casket. It is the same photo from 2006.
January 2009 - The blog tirofijo (dead-eye shooter) reports not only that Fidel died, but that he killed himself.
June 2009 - A video is posted on the blog dalealplay (hit the play button), which reproduces the same photo from 2006.
September 2009 - The site Taringa!, without calling the news true, reproduces two photos of Fidel in his casket. One is the traditional picture from 2006; the other, in color and obviously a photo-edit, shows Fidel in military dress and in a different position, as if the body had been dressed twice in different garments and moved into different poses. This leaves the reader to choose which of the two contradictory pictures best confirms the rumor.
March 2010 - The blog Eupsike Weblog, dedicated to information on Toxicomanias, publishes a full front page, obviously false, of Granma, the official organ of the Cuban Communist Party, with a full-body photo of Fidel in military uniform and --remarkably-- wearing his military cap while lying in his casket.
August 2010 - Fidel himself, in an interview with the Mexican paper La Jornada, speaking of the extent of his illness, says that "I went as far as dying, but I came back to life." This one report was confirmed, and by the best possible source.
August 7, 2011 - A virus spreads on Internet with the subject "Murió Fidel", showing a falsified copy of a web page appearing to come from a real news site in Chile. The picture of 2006 is included.
August 30, 2011 - A blogger at the Venezuelan newspaper El Universal carefully avoids a final diagnostic but reports that Fidel has slipped into, and then out of, a coma.
August 31, 2011 - A journalist at the Miami Herald reports that the rumor has been spreading for days in Twitter. Yoani Sánchez, the Cuban blogger who boasts of knowing all that happens in Cuba, tweets that she does not know. Rather than pointing to those spreading the rumor, she blames the government, asserting that the Cubans --presumably including Yoani-- will be the last to know.
As of now, none of the major news agencies in Cuba --BBC, Reuters, and so on-- has reported Fidel's latest death, although they have had the means to find out if there were any truth to the matter.
The rumor lives on, because Fidel lives on.