Ever since I saw the four photos released today in Cuba that show Fidel Castro alive and recovering and are alleged to have been taken yesterday — right down to the hostage-like photo of Fidel holding up a newspaper to display the headline and pinpoint the date — several things have been bothering me.
And one of them has definitely…bugged me. But more on that below the fold.
Mis-match of red logo and title color in actual Saturday edition of Cuba newspaper Granma
and black logo and title in newspaper Castro is shown holding in an 80th birthday photo
First, notice in the photo above that the Granma newspaper that Fidel Castro is shown displaying has a black logo and a black headline. The problem is that Granma uses a bright red logo, and often uses color in other places on the front page.
The second photo, to the right, shows the actual front page of yesterday’s Granma, with a red logo and a bright red headline.
Why the discrepancy?
Perhaps the copied red text did not show up as well in the photo when Photoshopped onto the newspaper Fidel was actually holding in this picture. Perhaps the red color of the headline and logo were more difficult to match in with Fidel’s hand at the top where his thumb was overlapping the page. Perhaps the Cuban government hired freelancer Adnan Hajj to prepare the photo.
I don’t know why they would have changed the color of the headline and logo. I only know that the color is different from that in yesterday’s actual edition of the newspaper.
Part two of the problem with the newspaper. Even if the color of the headline and logo were explainable, the size of the Cuban newspaper is not the same as the size of the newspaper Castro is shown holding.
Size mis-match of Granma newspaper and newspaper Castro shown holding in photo.
Overlay shows Granma to be wider and shorter than newspaper Castro holding
In the photo above, the actual Granma newspaper frontpage from Saturday, August 12, 2006 is overlaid on the photo released today purportedly showing Fidel Castro holding the same edition of the newspaper. The overlay is partially transparent to show the underlying Castro image.
Note that the black Granma logo on the Castro photo matches the red Granma logo overlaid on it in size. Note that the picture of Castro illustrating the story matches in size in both the birthday photo and the overlay photo (although they are slightly out of register). Note also that the text columns at the bottom of the newspaper page in the overlay match in height and width the text columns in the paper Castro is show holding.
Now notice the headline. In the overlay, it stretches far beyond the width of the newspaper page that Castro is holding. The color is not the only thing that is different. The headline on the newspaper Castro is holding has been reduced in size so that it will fit.
The columns of text which end above Castro’s right hand, holding the bottom of the newspaper, appear to be at the actual bottom of the page on the real Granma front page. This would explain the large amount of white space at the bottom of the newspaper in the birthday photo.
The hands of the woman holding the real Granma newspaper, when overlaid on the Castro birthday photo, also appear quite large in comparison to Castro’s hands. This also indicates that parts of the front page of Granma were enlarged and manipulated in order to fit the size of the newspaper Castro was holding in the photo.
That isn’t all.
The story continues on the next page.
The other thing that has been nagging at the back of my mind was the clothing that Castro was wearing in these photos. Robert Hahn at Redstate.com pointed out that Fidel was seen wearing that same Adidas outfit back in 2002 when former president Jimmy Carter visited the island nation and threw out the first pitch in a Cuban baseball game.
Fidel Castro in 2002 wearing the Adidas jacket shown in the August 13, 2006, birthday photos
The Adidas jacket appears to have weathered the more than four years since then remarkably well. In fact, the jacket Castro is wearing in the photos released today appears just as new as the one in the photos taken back in 2002.
Perhaps he doesn’t wear it very often. Or perhaps he takes exceptionally good care of it. Or possibly he liked the jacket so much that he bought a duplicate — or even has a closet full of them.
Or perhaps there is a simpler explanation and the photo alleged to have been taken yesterday, which has a demonstrably false headline photoshopped onto it, was part of a photo series taken back in 2002.
That would also explain why Castro looks younger in the photos released today than in ones taken last month. Usually, stomach surgery and prolonged internal bleeding would be expected to make a person look somewhat worse for wear than Castro appears today.
But why would a photo of Fidel Castro have been taken back in 2002 that showed him holding up a newspaper? What purpose would that have served?
Well, that is one of the things that had been “bugging” me, and thanks to the nudge from Robert Hahn reminding me of when Castro was last seen in Adidas, I finally remembered something that may be significant.
A few months after the Carter visit to Cuba, in December of 2002, Fidel Castro suddenly left a session of the National Assembly, Cuba’s parliament, due to illness from an injury to his leg. He was not seen again in public for over a week.
The temporary disappearance of Castro came a year and a half after Castro’s public collapse in late June of 2001 during a live televised speech before a crowd of tens of thousands of people — an event that stunned the Cuban people and put an end to talk of his legendary stamina and invicibility. Rumors that he was near death, or had indeed already died, were rampant.
Then, as now, he communicated through a letter published in Granma, explaining that an insect bite on his leg had become infected and doctors had ordered him to bed.
“It was my duty to protect my beloved left leg,” he wrote. “With it, I have practiced many sports, including soccer, have run in races, jumped, swam, climbed mountains. …”
“It had never betrayed me,” Castro continued, “I couldn’t betray it now.”
The three days of bed rest initially prescribed streched into a week as the infection did not clear up. As the rumors, and the unrest, mounted, perhaps a series of photos were taken to demonstrate that Fidel was alive and well. Perhaps those photos were never used because he began to recover and was able to make a public appearance.
Perhaps the photos were put aside.
Perhaps now, in a somewhat similar circumstance, the photos were remembered and hastily prepared to again calm the population and reassure them that life after Castro is still something for the future and not something to worry about now.
Of course, if they had to use old pictures, poorly altered as shown above, the implications for Castro’s actual condition are fairly obvious.
There is no reason to issue fake photographs of Fidel Castro unless real photographs of him are impossible to obtain.
Real photographs of him alive and well, at least.
More as news develops.
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Tags: cuba, fidel castro