For Cubans and Cuba watchers, it was nothing short of surreal to see the headlines announcing the death of Fidel Castro on Friday night. After so many false alarms, after ten years observing the retired, frail revolutionary play host to periodic visitors, the logical first reaction was healthy suspicion. It was only when Cuba’s ambassador in Washington retweeted the news that it began to sink in that this time was for real.
Back in 2006, when Cuban authorities first announced that Castro was stepping down from power due to illness, predictions of his—and the Cuban government’s—imminent demise were a dime a dozen. Like prior post-Soviet forecasts of Castro’s “final hour,” they proved uniformly untrue. Projections of what will come now should thus strive to be less conclusive, chastened by that earlier experience.
Of course, some things do seem preordained, namely the rollout of Castro’s death
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