December 31, 1990 12:00 PM

He sits in Havana, portly in his fatigues, watching his world collapse. In Eastern Europe, and even in Nicaragua, change has blown through on democracy’s wings, sweeping out the Communist benefactors who have sustained him since 1959. After Fidel Castro—young, full-bearded and waving the red flag of world revolution—remade Cuba in his own hardline image, he became the brightest star in the Marxist-Leninist firmament. Now el Commandante, 64, is Communism’s last holdout, clinging to his dreams despite the signs of failure: an economy in shambles, waning foreign influence and an angry, disillusioned people. “It’s been a horrible year for Fidel.” says Georgie Anne Geyer, author of the soon-to-be-published Guerrilla Prince: The Untold Story of Fidel Castro. “Look at his face and the whitening of his beard. His eyes are crazier and his demeanor madder.” Still, if his time is nigh. Communism’s last lion will probably exit roaring. “If he thinks he is going down, he will not go peacefully,” says Geyer. “Expect Castro to do the most outrageous thing.”

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