Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Death Watch: Castro hopes for death by Bush

Like most Death Watchers, I've been a little down lately. Nobody famous has been dying, or looking near death, and when a borderline well-known person croaks it has always been at an awkward time like a weekend or when I am eating lunch. (Murder suicides and professionals wrestlers? That's just gross.)

But I think much of our collective malaise stems from the aftermath of Anna Nicole Smith's passing. During those three glorious and confusing weeks of court rulings autopsies and embalming, our expertise in the death game was coveted like never before. Suddenly society valued our work like they would that of a psychic or one of those pop culture pundits who give witty commentary on VH1's celebreality programming.

When you've been so high it's difficult to come back down, and that's what we've all been dealing with. On the bright side, we still have Castro.

It's been 11 months since the Cuban President has been seen in public but, judging from his prodigious letter writing output, he still has many of his faculties. In his latest missive he turns the death watch cross hairs onto himself and speculates that he has so far survived at least "650" assassination attempts.

Most notably he accuses the current President Bush of being responsible for more than a few of these efforts. Castro even implies (but gives no evidence) that Bush was planning hits on him even before he reached the White House.

That claim in itself isn't so far-fetched. As we all know, killing people has been a consistent hallmark of Bush's entire career in public service, not just during his time as President. But, by the same token, Bush has never been one to be shy or sneaky about his plans to end a life. It's safe to say if Bush wants you dead he has already told the world of his intent, or has actually killed you, or has failed in his attempt to kill you, but significantly lowered the property values in your neighborhood.

Since Castro bears none of the markings of Bush's lethal interest, the chances are Bush has not ordered any hits on Castro. Which must be a bitter pill for the longtime dictator to swallow. Especially considering that, in Castro's heyday, he was getting legitimate assassination heat from American Presidents far more reticent about killing.

Getting old is tough. A death watcher knows this better than anyone. Getting old is even tougher when you are a firebrand agitator of one of the few communist countries left in the world but, in your diminished capacity, you can't get the most trigger-happy US President in recent history to make you a martyr.

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