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This just in: Fidel Castro handicaps U.S. election

August 30, 2007 |  7:58 am

We can only guess how many of you have been desperately waiting for political advice from Fidel Castro, el supremo Cuban leader despite those nagging intestinal problems that have kept him out of sight for a year. And now, finally, we have it.

Direct from his hospital suite the bearded dictator has written an editorial in the Communist Party newspaper Granma that we bet did not receive many changes by editors fearing prison.

Anyway, the 81-year-old Castro decreed that a 2008 U.S. presidential ticket pairing Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would be "invincible." Presumably he means in the United States because they don't allow free elections in Cuba.

Of course, this could be a trick, part of a Communist plot. Maybe the wily Castro realizes that such a suggestion by a foreigner like him could actually be the kiss of death if such a ticket came out of the Democrats' Denver convention a year from now. Imagine the headlines: "Dems do as Castro says, name Hillary and Barack." Or "Castro says si to Dem ticket." He could even come to Denver disguised as Michael Moore and give one of his three-hour orations to the assembled delegates.

But maybe, Castro actually favors Ron Paul, the Republican isolationist who theoretically would care less about a tropical island 90 miles away. And by ignoring Paul like everyone else in the Northern Hemisphere except a small band of unemployed web cruisers who believe in voluminous free expression, this is Castro's way of helping to boost the Texas congressman's poll numbers out of the single digit.

The two American candidates Castro favors actually disagree on U.S. policy toward Cuba. As reported here recently, after speaking out on unilaterally bombing U.S. ally Pakistan, Obama wrote an op-ed in the Miami Herald advocating a fresh approach to Cuban policy as it nears the end of the Castro era.

Obama says he would lift Bush administration restrictions on visits to Cuba by relatives and...

ease the flow of financial remittances back to the island from the U.S. He was supported by Dennis Kucinich while John Edwards and Chris Dodd said they would lift only travel restrictions.

Clinton, on the other hand, criticized Obama's idea as further proof of his inexperience, suggesting she would change nothing until she detected democratic intentions by a new Cuban regime.

According to Reuters, Cuba's foreign minister, Felipe Perez Roque, recently welcomed Obama's idea and said, "These declarations appear to express the sentiment of the majority of the United States."

Now, here's an interesting wrinkle that could mean something for those Americans still dissatisfied with the current crop of Democratic Party candidates. It drew little international attention but in his editorial Castro raises the question of whether former Vice President Al Gore will give up his lucrative speech-making gig and try to become president again. Does this mean that Castro reads Top of the Ticket?

Regular readers know that we have kept a dutiful watch on a possible Gore candidacy, seizing every opportunity to keep readers informed of his mysterious intentions with items like this one and this one and this one and this one and this one. Oh, and this one too. Castro praised Gore because "better than anyone, he knows about the kind of catastrophe that awaits humanity if it continues along its current course."

Presumably Castro was talking about global warming and not the fortunes of the lowly Washington Nationals. But he did criticize the Democrats' 2000 presidential nominee. "When he was a candidate," Castro wrote, "he of course committed the error of yearning for 'a democratic Cuba.' " Silly Gore.

But how does Castro really feel about the possibility of another Gore candidacy? As closely plugged into American politics as he is, does Castro think the Oscar winner will give the White House one more go? "I don't think he will do so," Castro predicts. A minor setback for those of us awaiting further word from Al.

We promise to keep you informed of any future developments.

--Andrew Malcolm