"Who knows when Fidel Castro actually kicked the bucket? But this weekend his brother decided to let us in on the secret. His presidential term lasted, gosh, an awfully long time, as The New York Times reminded us:
Fidel Castro had held on to power longer than any other living national leader except Queen Elizabeth II.
That's one way of putting it. But in the end, when it comes to ruthlessly holding on to power, no one can compete with Her Majesty, and so that piker Castro got relegated to second place, while millions of English, Canadians, Jamaicans, Bahamians, Barbadians, Grenadians, etc, still groan under the jackboot of the Queen.
Elsewhere in the US media, The Nation offered a more local comparison:
Castro almost outlasted 11 US presidents—Eisenhower, Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and passing in the waning days of Obama's last term. Perhaps he just couldn't bear the thought of President Donald Trump.
Impressive. How exactly did he manage to outlast all those here-today-gone-tomorrow US presidents? As I wrote in Maclean's eight years ago:
What's wrong with this picture?"Saying he is no longer healthy enough to hold office, Cuban leader Fidel Castro has announced he will not seek re-election after 49 years in power" — the Miami Herald.Hmm. Castro didn't really have to "seek" re-election, did he? He's a — what's the word? Oh, yeah — "dictator." If he "seeks" re-election, he's pretty much guaranteed to find it — assuming for the purposes of argument you can be "re-elected" if you've never been freely or fairly elected in the first place. In its own "news report," the satirical website The Nose on Your Face got closer to reality:"Fidel Castro announced today that he would not seek a new term as Cuba's president, citing concerns that at 81, it may be difficult for him to serve the full, constitutionally-mandated 49-year term."
Yeah, yeah, but who are you to preach? Back to The Nation:
Having been sanctimoniously lectured by all 11 US presidents on what constitutes proper democratic procedure, he might have thought Trump, about to take office with a minority of the vote and with significant voter suppression, a vindication..."