I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that Fidel Castro is not in some luxury Cuban hospital suite recovering from surgery. If he were, the press would be inundated with pictures of him, propped him in his hospital bed, holding a cigar, and waving to the camera. I see him in a secret room with embalming fluid being pumped into him. This way, once the situation in Cuba is locked up, his body can be paraded around with the assurances that he died unexpectedly, minutes before his body was put on view.
The charade being played out around Castro’s death is, of course, identical to the charade that we saw when Arafat died. The only difference here is that the perfidious French aren’t hosting the charade. In the latter case, to the world’s press, the French still had enough credibility to add an air of verisimilitude to an otherwise unconvincing narrative. There’s no such French cachet here, although the Press seems perfectly content to sit and wait.
In any event, both these dictators’ attenuated, secretive deaths underline the horrors of totalitarian political systems. Because these leaders rule by force, the assumption is that, if the people learn of their deaths, they will explode in an effort to avoid a new totalitarian dictator from filling the recently vacated shoes. After all, the transition from one dictator to another is a crack in the system that could be exploited by a disaffected people. (Ironically, with regard to the Palestinians, those poor people have been so brainwashed that, when they had the chance, they voted in an even worse dictatorship.)
Only a free society can see an orderly transition of power. That’s why free societies have no compunction about informing the people should a leader die. For one thing, as in America, with its chain of command, the people already know who will take over. Indeed, the Vice President is part of the package people consider when electing the President. In addition, people know that, even if they’re less than thrilled about the temporary leader, they’ll soon get a chance to state their preferences at the polls.