Is Castro All Right? (Eez all right.)
Fidel Castro, dictator, revolutionary, murderer, baseball fan, is still sequestered in hiding and still no one is sure just how ill the cigar-chomping, fatigues-wearing bugger is.
Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, self-professed "Bush Exorcist," and Mussolini impersonator, says that Castro is doing just fine and will be out of bed any day now, doing one-arm push ups, swimming Guantanamo Bay, curtailing Cuban civil rights, and giving Bush the "V-sign" as usual.
To test Chavez's theory, I set up an interview with the eccentric Venezuelan.
Earl Fando: Presidente Chavez, you said that Castro was not dying and that his recuperation was going slowly. How can we take this seriously if Castro hasn't been seen in weeks?
Hugo Chavez: (Via translator Bucky Dent) You imperialists are all the same. You twist the words of the people's representatives in order to further your power and ill-gotten wealth!
Earl Fando: Actually, I just help run a little humour blog and...
Hugo Chavez: How dare you belittle the health of my loyal friend and companero Fidel! You are a pig. You are worse than a pig! You are a dog! You are a pig dog!
Earl Fando: Well, I...
Hugo Chavez: You talk too much, too! (pause) Pig dog!
Earl Fando: So, is President Castro...
Hugo Chavez: (under breath) pig dog.
Earl Fando: ...still alive? Don't wait for the translation!
Hugo Chavez: Que?
Bucky Dent: What?
Earl Fando: Sorry, I've just always wanted to say that. Plus, it did shut your gob for a moment. So, has Castro snuffed it or not?
Hugo Chavez: Listen, pig dog, I can prove without a shadow of a doubt that my friend Fidel is alive and well! He is here with me now!
(Chavez pulls out a large Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist dummy, dressed in fatigues, with a large, greying bottlebrush beard, and a cigar. For some strange reason, he is wearing a monocle. He sets the dummy on his knee.)
Hugo Chavez: Hello, my dear friend Fidel! Tell this pig dog how you are feeling.
Hugo Chavez: (through clenched teeth and in a slightly lower voice) I mm feelming ike I have the stremgth of mten mmmen, my mood friendm. (Pause) Where arem the wommenmm!!!
(The eyebrows on the dummy go up and down excitedly. The monocle falls off.)
Earl Fando: Well, how could I have ever doubted you?
Hugo Chavez: Wait pig dog, I want to do this next bit where my good friend Fidel calls you a pig dog while I drink a glass of water.