Friday, October 19, 2012

Castro said to be 'vegetative' following embolic stroke

50 years after 1962 Cuban missile crisis
Doctor says "the beard" will never again be seen in public
Naples, Florida – Recent revelations regarding the failing health of former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro point up the high drama of events that occurred 50 years in the past this month.

A Venezuelan doctor is on record citing “first hand sources and information” that Cuban dictator Fidel Castro is “very close to a neuro-vegetative state.”

According to José Marquina, who spoke with “El Nuevo Herald” of Miami by phone, Mr. Castro “has trouble feeding, speaking, and recognizing faces...He could last weeks like that, but what I can say is that we'll never again see him in public.”

Dr. Marquina attributed the former President of Cuba's difficulties to an embolic stroke suffered during the week of the 50th anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis of October, 1962.

According to one of the former dictator's sons, “The Comandante is resting comfortably” at his residence at El Laquito near Havana. A sister who lives in Miami, Juanita Castro, told the newspaper, “These are pure rumors.”

Mr. Castro seized power in a 1959 revolution as Prime Minister and held the position until 1976 when he was elected President and served in that position until surgery for an undisclosed intestinal illness forced his retirement in 2008. His brother Raul Castro succeeded him as President.

The most recent public statement attributed to the dictator congratulated doctors who recently graduated from a Havana medical institute.

The statement, which is being read at the top of all Cuban state media shortwave broadcasts, recalled that Cuban military leaders hastily turned the institute into an anti-aircraft installation during the 13 days of October, 1962, when the U.S. was “eyeball to eyeball with the Soviets, and they blinked,” in the words of Secretary of State Dean Rusk.

Mr. Castro also recalled that most doctors fled the island nation following the revolution, seeking more stable conditions in the U.S.

He did not comment on the recent re-election triumph of his close associate, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

Historians at the National Archives recalled that an undelivered speech written for President John F. Kennedy led with the statement, “This morning, I ordered the Armed Forces to destroy the nuclear build-up in Cuba.”

American generals deferred the threatened military attack when informal back channel negotiations and “hot line” conversations between the President and Premier Nikita Kruschev arrived at a compromise in which the U.S. agreed to remove similar long-range and intermediate missiles deployed in Turkey, which were aimed at major military and population centers in the Soviet Union.

Experts in the strategy and logistics of nuclear warfare, including Dr. (“Strangelove”) Henry Kissinger of Harvard University, who later served as the National Security Adviser and Secretary of State to President Richard M. Nixon, are on record saying that such an attack would have, by design, led to the mutually assured destruction (MAD) of both nations, had it been initiated.

An outraged President Kennedy recalled for the nation in real time an earlier Oval Office visit with Soviet Ambassador Andrei Gromyko, who asserted that there were no such weapons installed on Cuban soil, 90 miles from the U.S. Mainland.

That was false,” he said in a dramatic weeknight radio and television address - not once, but several times.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson confronted a Soviet diplomat in a session of the Security Council and asked the question regarding the missiles – point-blank - on a television simulcast from the UN headquarters in New York.

When he received no answer, he told the Soviet Ambassador he was prepared to wait “until hell freezes over” for the reply to his question.

Diplomats seated at the council table and members of the gallery responded to the one-sided diplomatic interchange with ripples of sustained laughter.

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