Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Fidel Castro's Double in the Time of His Moribundity

Fidel Castro's double lived a charmed life and was an important man in his own right. Of course, his relevancy hinged on Fidel's and it is never a safe thing to live in the shadow of another man, especially one as hated as Fidel Castro. In a sense, he was an uber-bodyguard. If he died in the line of service it would not be because he intercepted a bullet for Fidel, willingly or accidentally, because the two, of course, were never seen together in public. If he took a bullet for the Maximum Leader, or swallowed poison for him, or performed any other of those small offices, it would be because he himself was the target by proxy for the assassin, the magnet for bullets intended for Fidel. There would be no posthumous glory for him as Fidel's "savior" because, of course, he did not officially exist. The double also had "bodyguards" in his escort, but they did not serve the purposes of normal bodyguards, that is, they were not there to actually protect his life but to assure everyone after he had been killed that it was not really Fidel lying in a pool of blood. They even carried signed letters from Fidel to that effect with all other documentation certifying that Fidel's double was not Fidel. This was never directly told to him, but he must have supposed it unless he had actually convinced himself that he was anything but expendable anywhere and at all times.

His duties were at first those of a decoy, but when it became known that he had a flare for impersonating Fidel and did no discredit to him in the process, he began to be used as a double, who could fill-in for him at minor appearances at factories and schools where little more than a few encouraging remarks and backpatting was required. He enjoyed these little excursions, how grown men would weep from emotion in his presence or women swoon. Well, Fidel was their god, with absolute control over their lives for all of their lives, and, of course, with the power of life or death over them. The Romans too would have quaked in the presence of the God Caligula or the God Nero. The double knew that he was just a man, and even that the man that he impersonated was also just a man, and a frightened man at that: why else would he have need of his services?

The double's job entailed more than donning the comandante's uniform; yes, literally his uniform, for Fidel's tailor also outfitted him. Of course, his measurements were never taken; he was expected to maintain the same weight and general contours as Fidel. He was probably the only man in Cuba who actually had to worry about losing weight. Fortunately, the regime provided him with unlimited supplies of condensed milk and a good quantity of beef — yes, beef — so that he would be able to maintain Fidel's fornido appearance.

Of course, he was allowed no family of his own and had little to do with families of his siblings. His resemblance to Fidel had always been a joke in his family and it would not have required much intuition to figure out the rest. Officially, he had a botella (sinecure) at the Ministry of Communications (unintentional irony?), but was never seen there. In fact, he had been ordered never to present himself there. He wondered sometimes if the double might not have a double himself. He had seen enough strange things to make that entirely plausible. He was tempted at times to inquire into the matter but thought the better of it. If he had subsumed his personality into Fidel's, why should it matter that another man might be willing to be his stand-in? The thought even flattered him in a way; perhaps he had more in common with the chief than he had ever imagined. In any case, nothing seemed more pathetic to him than the life of the man who impersonated him.

There was only one thing that he feared; well, actually, two. First, of course, that Fidel would die and his own utility end. He had heard of pharaohs who had their entire retinues buried alive with them. He knew that he was more than just a water carrier and that it might be better to suppress his existence after Castro's death, which would be, in a maccabre way, the ultimate homage to him. He hoped this "suppression" would involve no more than an order to shave his beard, return the uniforms and forget he had ever impersonated Castro, a story which, he thought, few would believe anyway. Perhaps he would be reassigned to the botella at the Ministry of Communications and the guy presently holding his job returned to whatever job he held before becoming his understudy.

The first shock of his life came when Fidel fell in public and fractured his knee. His own mortality which, given his job, had never lurked too far from his consciousness he could accept well enough, but the sudden realization that Castro could die and undermine completely his settled life filled him with terror. He didn't want to return to his old life or assume his old identity. The insufferable boredom of it was more than he could take. How could a man who had been adulated as much as him, even by proxy, give all that up at a moment's notice and retire to what would surely be a hermetic life. The thought was too much to bear. Truly it may be said that no man more sincerely wished health and long life to Fidel than his double.

His immediate concern was whether he would be able to feign a limp and how convincingly. He even began to practice and found it more difficult and uncomfortable than he had supposed, which made him more determined to master it. For him posing as Castro's double was more than a job — it was an art, and he was not wrong; specifically, the magician's art of illusion, though he thought more highly of it. So while Fidel was in rehab learning how to walk without a limp his double was in training learning how to. Nonetheless, he was not called upon to perform his latest trick and got the opportunity to "convalesce" during Fidel's period of recovery.

To be continued...

12 comments:

Charlie Bravo said...

There was an internet rumour that went onto saying that ramon castro was used as a double in these last days of the beast, which of course it not true, because he will never expose ramon to death.... not for any good feeling -such sentiments are totally extraneous to the kasstro kommunist klan- but because of money: ramon castro is the "cattle rancher" that meets with American cattle ranchers on a regular basis and the regime benefits enormously from those meetings and transactions.
The man who "created" the large cadre of body doubles for castro was no other than Mercado, the assassin of Trotski, who is interred in the cemetery of Colon.
There are at least five known body doubles, which were used also to create miracles for the fascio-fidelista liturgy: castro was virtually omnipresent thanks to the travails of this flesh, blood, and bones puppets.

Charlie Bravo said...

¿Donde esta la Bestia de Biran? is a great analysis penned by KillCastro some time ago.....

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Charlie:

Ramón Castro, a monument to the benefits of living a placid capitalist life in a sea of proletariat, may be Fidel's older brother, but he is far too healthy and vigorous to impersonate his skeletal brother now. That paunch is actually his own, not some plastic bag filled feces. Of course, people will believe what they want to believe. The MSM might just be fooled. But we wouldn't be.

BTW, it is remarkable that no one in the MSM has ever commented the fact that the Castro family estate remains intact, indeed, greatly expanded, and is the only one of comparable size never to have been confiscated or collectivized. Are these people stupid or complicit? They are taken on tours of "Ramón's farm" and never ask to whom it belongs. They do sometimes mention that much of the land in the area once belonged to United Fruit, but refrain from mentioning that Fidel's father Angel used to steal that land by moving his posts and that the family tradition was carried on by his sons.

Charlie Bravo said...

They actually stop short from reporting that, Manuel, and they make no mention of the family plot they have in the house, the ancestral interrement place of the kasstros.
One of the places where they have considered a burial is near his parents, in the same place where he was born -we just wish that he had never exited that locale, dead or alive!
The fence moving technique of Angel Castro is very well know, and all his sons were jolly participants in those adventures. The same with the cattle thievery. The locals were very decent that they never took justice on their own hands, as it was the use of the times and the place....

Vana said...

Manuel:
Learning from his thug father, he moved the posts alright, he moved them to include all of Cuba.
And as you explain it, his body double was sort of the Court tester, hoping he would catch the bullets, or the poison

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Charlie:

When Castro is dead and liberty restored to our country, we must eradicate every reminder of his presence in our country as the Germans did with Hitler: a complete decastrofication. Let's start with Castro's birthplace, burning that house to cinders and sowing a million tons of salt into the soil so that nothing will ever grow there again.

Charlie Bravo said...

Decastroification is the ONLY thing that will borne a new nation onto the island of Cuba, Manuel.
The tyranny should be known as the Dark Ages of Cuba, and after such period, freedom and illustration shall flourish....

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Vana:

You are very right. The child is the father of the man. The Castro brothers took the lessons taught them by their father and extended their practice to the entire island.

Angel Castro was also a slaver, who "imported" Haitians to Cuba to work on his estate, paying them not a cent and threatening them with death if they recoursed to the authorities. That's something else his boys learned from daddy.

Fidel even improved upon his father's lessons. Once as a teenager he had an argument with his father and burned down the hayloft. That's one thing that Angel would never have done.

Vana said...

Manuel:
So he learned how to get and treat slaves from his very own father, what a lovely bunch those castro boys are,thugs and thieves, how they have gotten away with it for so long, is beyond me

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