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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Rise and Decline of the Castro Régime, as Illustrated by Castro’s Facial Hair

July 26, 1953
Clean shaven, for the most part. A scraggly moustache convinces various compatriots to attack Moncada Barracks, a horrifically failed attempt at wresting control away from Batista.

January 8, 1959
Castro’s beard, while worn out and patchy from over two years of guerrilla fighting in the wilderness, triumphantly enters Havana. Soon, the inexperienced and idealistic scruff will implement sweeping reforms throughout Cuba.

April 19, 1961
At the height of its power, opposition in Washington, and lustrousness, the beard wins an outright victory against the Americans at Bay of Pigs. Defiant, independent, and properly moisturized, he enjoys his heyday.

From across the world, a wizened and gray beard looks on as the Soviet Union collapses. Cuba falls into economic crisis, prices for facial shampoos skyrocketing. There is a growing rift between the Cuban government and its people, and, as hairs begin to fall out and never come back, a widening space between adjacent tufts.

February 19, 2008
Truly forlorn and reduced to wisps of transparent white hair, Castro’s beard gives up power to his brother, Raul Castro’s moustache. The world watches, wondering where they can get an Adidas track suit that says “F. Castro” on it.

Alex Neuscheler is currently living in Belgium, a small country in Europe somewhere around France. His work has otherwise appeared absolutely nowhere.