And he’s the head of U.S. intelligence. So Castro’s probably got another ten years.

The feds are taking it seriously, though. Will Christmas in Miami be extra merry this year?

Speculations whipping around South Florida that the Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, is near death reached fever pitch this week as federal emergency officials ran “post-Castro” drills in preparation for the death announcement.

Officials described how the demise of the communist dictator could spark their worst nightmares — either a flood of Cuban refugees heading in makeshift boats toward Florida’s beaches or a flotilla of Cuban exiles taking off to help liberate Cuba. Anti-Castro Cuban-Americans began planning champagne parties, while local police prepared to close thoroughfares in the event people began to dance in the streets.

What are they celebrating? Is it just the satisfaction of seeing the old bastard dead or do they really expect things will start to change in Cuba? Because if it’s the latter, they’re probably headed for a major disappointment.

[Political analyst Francisco Aruca] argues that Mr. Castro’s quiet departure from power, under the guise of his illness, could partly be a move to avoid a chaotic regime change or rebellion in Cuba that has long been awaited by Cuban exiles in Florida and elsewhere.

“Part of what is happening in Miami … is they are being caught off guard,” he said, pointing to the calm in Cuba over the past several months. “Our policy called for, once Castro died, there was going to be quite a bit of upheaval, and that is not what is happening.”

The State Department said this week that it won’t talk to Cuba until it makes a move towards democracy. Not good enough for Jeff Flake and William Delahunt: they’re leading a ten-member bipartisan congressional delegation to the island this week as part of Congress’s new every-man-for-himself, fark-the-Logan-Act approach to foreign policy. It’s even trickled down to some state houses.

Tags: Florida