Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Castro quits.

Fidel Castro announced his resignation as president and commander in chief of Cuba. This is a historic but unfortunately meaningless event. It is historic because dictators, especially Latin American dictators, usually do not step down from power. In fact, I thought that in my lifetime I was more likely to see a man return to the Moon than to see Castro leave office before dying. It is meaningless because his brother Raul will now take over as the president and commander in chief only to maintain the status quo.

By abdicating the throne of Cuba to his brother, Castro proved that Cuba is another example of that rarest form of government, a communist monarchy. The other example is, of course, North Korea whose current monarch inherited the throne from his father. Another similarity between the two kingdoms is the complete and utter disregard for the human rights of their subjects.

This disregard and other forms of mistreatment have always been a common thread among the communist countries, but the rulers of China and Russia had the decency, if you can call it such, to pass the torch to the next highest ranking member of the party instead of a blood relative.