According to a Spanish newspaper, ailing dictator Fidel Castro is facing “a very grave prognosis.” As in, six feet under very soon? Let’s hope so. Looks like the much ballyhooed Cuban healthcare system — so often cited by diehard leftist Castro-lovers as one of his great achievements — isn’t going to be able to save the great one.

But a Cuban diplomat in Madrid said the reports were all lies. I guess they were capitalist and imperialist lies, at that. On the other hand, Castro hasn’t been seen in public in a month of Sundays, so maybe, despite official Cuban denials, the bearded one really is close to buying the collective farm.

Why won’t Cuba just be honest with its people for once and tell them the truth about Castro’s condition? What are they afraid of? If the revolution was such a smashing success as they are so fond of telling the world, then Castro’s passing shouldn’t be the cause of any particular problems and the Cuban people will simply fall in line behind the next Stalinist tyrant.

Or is it possible that the whole thing has been a miserable failure and was maintainable only by Castro’s famed charisma (well, that and a murderous police state) which fueled a perverse cult of personality? Maybe Cuban officials are worried that when the personality finally croaks, the communist dictatorship that has kept the island in a state of pathetic dilapidation for nearly fifty years will come crashing down like a bad Ponzi scheme.

But hold everything, said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, another inveterate Latin American loser and thorn in the side of decency. His mentor’s recovery from surgery is slow and has risks, he admitted, but he also denied the Spanish report that Castro’s condition was serious. In other words, no problemo, the dictator will be back on his feet in no time and lording over the island with his beloved iron fist.

Notwithstanding all the denials, the Spanish report was quite specific in its medical details: Castro, suffering from diverticulitis (bulges in the large intestine) had decided to avoid a colostomy, which would have been the standard procedure, and instead opted for riskier surgery which could have gotten him back on his feet sooner — if it had worked. But the surgery, which involved sewing the colon to the rectum, went bad when the incisions failed to heal properly and broke apart, releasing gastric fluid with feces that caused serious infection.

I know, it’s way more than you ever wanted to know about Castro’s innards, but it’s all in the interest of getting at the truth. Anyway, the guy’s 80, Cuba is a squalid mess and communism has either already collapsed or is in the process in a last few hold-out countries. Give it up already. Castro is soon to be a goner and his regime is doomed. Let the celebrations begin!

Greg Strange provides conservative commentary with plenty of acerbic wit on the people, politics, events and absurdities of our time. See more at his website: http://www.greg-strange.com/

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