Dead Or Alive

Matt Drudge is headlining the question whether this photo of Fidel Castro released by the Cuban government is real or photoshopped. The photo shows Castro holding a copy of the August 12 edition of Granma, the Cuban Communist Party newspaper:

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The AP photo caption, perhaps reflecting fallout from recent photo scandals, says: “The Associated Press cannot verify the authenticity or the date when these photographs were shot.” Elsewhere, though, the AP says: “There was no reason to doubt [the photographs] were real.”

I don’t have any opinion on whether the photo is genuine; I assume it is. What is striking to me is that the Cuban government has been reduced to using the technique most associated with kidnappers who want to show that their hostages are still alive: photographing them with a copy of a current newspaper. Note the implicit acknowledgement that the Cuban people don’t believe anything their government says, absent this sort of “proof.” It’s a sad but fitting commentary on the state of Cuban society after more than forty years of misrule by Fidel.

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