The last few weeks have been most unfortunate for the world's tyrants, what with Saddam and his cronies passing from this life and Ahmadinejad hitting some snags in his plan to unite all people in their hatred of the United States.
But now there's some really awful news for the strongmen. Fidel Castro, world's longest serving totalitarian dictator, appears to be slipping from this mortal sphere. Or so a Spanish newspaper reports.
Castro's rule has been a disaster for Cuba and the world. Turning his island from an exporter of sugar to an exporter of Communism, Castro has impoverished his people--at least the ones whom he didn't imprison or kill--while sustaining minor revolutions in various other countries with similar results all around. Meanwhile, he became one of the world's wealthiest individuals and most prominent media figures. Moreover, he became the archetype of the anti-American dictator, modeling how anyone with the right blend of charisma, cruelty and ruthlessness can grab and hold power in a small country simply by posturing against Yankee imperialism.
We are hopeful that Castro's demise will lead to some positive change in Cuba's governance. It's hard to imagine a sudden burst of liberal democracy, but it's just as hard to imagine anyone but Castro sustaining the obstinacy that has kept Cuba constantly on the brink of total collapse.
Next up: Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe.