Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Newsweek forecasts Castro's death in 2010

My prediction for 2010: Newsweek's circulation will continue to drop

Newsweek predicts Fidel Castro will die in 2010. What kind of journalism is that? Maybe Castro will die. Maybe he won't. But it strikes me as odd that America's second-largest news weekly is now predicting when people are going to croak. I figured Newsweek would leave that sort of thing to the celebrity tabloids. But Newsweek plunged ahead with its bold prediction, proclaiming:
Fidel Castro has been ailing for years, and 2010 looks to be his last year on earth. Control of Cuba will formally pass to brother Raul, who has been running the country during Fidel’s dotage. The transition will be peaceful, as most citizens, though they are dissatisfied with components of Fidel’s totalitarian system, don’t reject socialism outright.
Cuba won’t change overnight, but Fidel’s demise will mean that all the doctrinal rigidities tied to his name (lack of press freedom, immigration restrictions, a cult of personality, persecution of gays) will get a second look. Foremost, Raul, recognizing the economic potential of improving ties with the U.S., will curtail the government’s anti-American rhetoric. The Obama administration, always on the lookout for rapprochement with rogues, will send a delegation of assistant secretaries from the State, Defense, Homeland Security, and Commerce Departments to visit. Within short order, and perhaps by year’s end, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will announce a plan to normalize relations with Cuba by the year 2013.
My reaction:
* Power has already formally passed to Raul Castro.
* Fidel Castro's death doesn't mean there will necessarily be a transition to a different political system.
* If there is a transition, there's no guarantee it will be smooth or peaceful.
* Fidel Castro's death doesn't mean the Cuban government will examine such issues as freedom of the press.
* I can't imagine that four U.S. assistant secretaries will visit Cuba by the end of 2010.
* And U.S. won't have normal relations with Cuba in 2013 because the world ends in 2012, at least according to the Mayan calendar hanging in my garage.
Of course, it's risky making any predictions about Fidel Castro. Remember the book, Castro's Final Hour: The Secret Story Behind the Coming Downfall of Communist Cuba? That book came out in 1992. Seventeen years later, Fidel Castro and the socialist government are still around, and used copies of the hardcover edition sell on for as little as a penny.

Castro's Final Hour has not arrived

Still, it's only natural we make predictions. I've guessed and speculated about the future and I've been wrong. It's not easy to figure out what's going to happen in the future. If it were, we'd all be millionaires by now.
Some people are convinced Fidel Castro is already dead. Rumors of his death go around all the time. A poll on the Castro Death Watch Web site said earlier this month:
The rumors are bubbling up yet again that Fidel Castro has finally kicked el cubo. What do you think?
Thirty-eight percent agreed with "He's not dead (yet), but any minute now..."

Along the Malecon's Fidel Castro page

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