Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Castro Death Watch

Are you among those who suspect Fidel Castro is trading old jokes with Hitler and Stalin as we speak? Well, he has a great opportunity to prove you wrong, at the Mercosur meeting about to get underway in Cordoba, Argentina:


By the time this edition goes into circulation [in print - the Editor], the 30th Summit of the MERCOSUR Heads of State will have concluded, during which President Néstor Kirchner, as host, will have passed on the pro tempore presidency to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil in the presence of their counterparts from Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela, Tabaré Vazquez, Nicanor Duarte and Hugo Chávez, respectively, as well as Michelle Bachelet of Chile, which is an associate state.

The expected presence of President Evo Morales, first indigenous president in the region, has been confirmed.

The meeting was to include discussions on the creation of a regional council on social policies; employment; social exclusion and poverty; the signing of complementary agreements with Cuba, and a framework agreement with Pakistan for the future implementation of a commercial treaty based on the principles of equity that currently prevail in the bloc.

The announcement that President Kirchner has condoned part of Paraguay’s debt for the Yacicretá Reservoir and regarding a broad energy agreement between the two countries, as well as the publicly announced decision by President Bachelet that she would not allow the Chilean right wing to impose a foreign policy agenda contrary to the region’s integration efforts were received as excellent indications that the road being taken is the right one.

Normally, this is an event that Castro might well be expected to attend. After all, he won't live forever, and he wants to impart all the 'wisdom' he can to Chavez before settling in for a well-deserved dirt nap. If he does not show, he may indeed have assumed room temperature. If he 'shows,' we'll need to decide if it's Fidel or one of his renowned body doubles (pictured).

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