Fidel Castro is dying by installments and it is hard to decide whether to wish him a quick release (which, sadly, his death will not mean for the Cuban people) or to let him linger as long as his brother does, letting him suffer those thousand deaths of a coward which he has so richly earned. Since man can die only once, it is the loss of his faculties, one by one, that constitutes this multitudinous death of cowards. The loss of his ability to excrete, which turned inward the maleficent rain that had been pouring on the Cuban people ever since he first opened his mouth in a public forum, was a poetic start. Few men in history have worn out their anus. The proof, if any is needed, is that even Fidel's brother has managed to keep his.
This was followed by the visible diminishment of his mental faculties. His toadies always marvelled at this encyclopedic knowledge. Undoubtedly, he did have a vast capacity for accumulation but was nearly retarded when it came to the assimilation of that knowledge. The encyclopedia that sits on your bookshelf is not a living organism. Neither was Fidel's brain. Now that library of arcane trivia and truncated statistics has shut down. Accumulating at its door are fliers and yellowed newspapers and it is these which are the only sources at his command now. Fidel has lost the ability to impress useful idiots with his diffuse knowledge. He can now only continue that illusion with his silence. But this is not the reason that the audio was turned off in his latest televised appearance this week.
The reason is that Fidel is deaf and quickly becoming mute as well.
In his latest video, the first issued in 6 months, Fidel is shown wearing a hearing aid. His artificial anus may have come from South Korea but his hearing aid was definitely manufactured in North Korea. It looks as if it were made from the broken off corner of an old transistor radio. But even that is not the most compelling proof of his deafness. It is his inability to articulate words clearly anymore and the exaggerated contorsions of his mouth and face, which are intended to compensate for the indistinctness of his speech, that betray and confirm his advancing deafness. The more animated his speech the less actual speech there is. A man needs to hear himself speak to know what he is saying. If all he hears is mumbling or even silence, then his speech will deteriorate until it becomes incomprehensible to others. Fidel has clearly reached that stage. His listeners, of course, may catch a word or two, or think that they do, and elaborate their answers accordingly, and he, in turn, may guess at what they are saying too and answer in the same vein. But the string is frayed and almost broken and the cans are rusty and filled with holes. In such circumstances it is better to turn off the sound and let the viewers also participate in this game of charades by imagining what it is that Fidel is telling Raúl and Chávez.