Venezuela's President says he made a second visit to Cuban leader Fidel Castro earlier this week.
President Hugo Chavez describes his ailing ally as "recuperating" and says they spoke for a couple of hours.
Chavez' visit was more or less secret, and thus AcademicElephant's inference: had there been good news about Castro's health, Chavez would have arrived with cameras in tow. He did not, therefore Castro's health must be very poor.
We can hope.
In the Australian, Caroline Overington describes how she came to realize that Castro's Cuba was not the paradise she had imagined in here fevered, progressive dreams:
Two years ago, I was given what quickly became an awful assignment. I was told to visit Cuba. Oh sure, like everybody I thought: dark rum, hot nights, fat cigars, the rumba.
The reality was very different. Cuba was wretched. Every day the photographer and I encountered distressing scenes of women, children and ageing Cubans living in terrible poverty.
I should be grateful she eventually figured out that all those nasty right-wing Cubans were telling the truth all along, but I'm not lately inclined to be generous to the dimwitted.
It was a terrible shock because, like many people, I'd believed the hype about Cuba: that it was a socialist paradise; that Castro was a visionary leader; that the Cuban people were happy communists. In fact, Castro is a gutless dictator who has never been brave enough to hold a presidential election. Yet across the West he continues to be celebrated as some grand, visionary leader, instead of being derided as a lunatic on his last legs.
If she really was a believer, then she probably owes a number of people an apology. People like her, people who "celebrated" Castro, are responsible for denouncing and denigrating those who have always understood Castro was a lunatic, long before he was on his last legs. Now that she's found her courage, she might take the time to recognize the Cuban dissidents who have always been courageous enough to tell the truth.