Fidel Castro has died. On Twitter. Again.
It was only a matter of time before the rumors and whispers kicked up again on Twitter, which thrives off rumor and whisper.
Not only is the dictator 86 and in poor health and out of the public eye -- he failed to congratulate strongman-protege Hugo Chavez after his re-election in Venezuela. Not a peep from Castro. Not a Tweet. Yes, Castro's on Twitter, but the 140-character limit doesn't suit the windbag who once gave speeches for hours.
Still, the silence was a deafening vacuum, which Twitter abhors.
"I thought somebody in the Cuban government would at least write up some fake congratulations to Chavez but then again, NO ONE speaks for Fidel," wrote Rob Sequin in a smart Havana Journal post. "That would be a life threatening mistake."
The silence and innuendo shouldn't be a surprise. Cuba is a dictatorship of government-controlled media and lies. It literally shoots (or simply imprisons) the messenger.
“El Comandante is well, following his daily routine, reading, exercising,” Alex Castro said, according to pro-Castro blogger Yohandry Fontana. (What are the chances the government wants to leak this news on the cusp of the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile crisis?)
We've been through this drill before. For decades. But now we have Twitter. It can happen endlessly.
In January and then August, folks were atwitter with Castro's death. But he seemingly remained alive. Perhaps he died earlier but is propped up like a Weekend at Bernie's dictator. Perhaps he's as satanic, as many exiles say, and will therefore live forever.
But now that he gave up ostensible power to his brother and traded in the army fatigues, Castro is more likely these days to be compared to more comical figures, especially South Park's mythical cartoon child, Kenny, who dies every episode.
"Fidel Castro has died more times than South Park Kenny," Tweeted the AP's Terry Spencer. "(Another unfounded rumor today. When he does croak, no one will believe it)."
And that's something you can believe on Twitter when it comes to Fidel.