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Updated: October 22, 2012 14:11 IST

Castro publishes article criticising health rumours

AP
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This picture released by Cubadebate on its website early Monday Oct. 22, 2012 shows Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Habana, Cuba on Sunday. Photo: AP/Alex Castro, Cubadebate
This picture released by Cubadebate on its website early Monday Oct. 22, 2012 shows Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Habana, Cuba on Sunday. Photo: AP/Alex Castro, Cubadebate

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro said he does not even suffer from a headache in an article he published in state-media on Monday, criticising those who spread rumours that he was on his death bed.

The article is accompanied by photos taken by son Alex Castro that show the 86-year-old revolutionary icon standing outside near some trees wearing a checked shirt and cowboy hat, including one in which he is seen reading Friday’s copy of the Communist Party newspaper Granma.

“I don’t even remember what a headache feels like,” Mr. Castro claims, adding that he was releasing the photos to show “how dishonest” the rumour mongers have been.

The article was published on the state-run Cubadebate Web site early Monday. It is the latest evidence the former Cuban president is seemingly well after more than a week of intense speculation he was seriously ill.

Twitter and other social media sites have been abuzz with claims of Mr. Castro’s demise.

On Sunday, a visiting former Venezuelan vice president released a photo of a meeting he said he had the previous day with Mr. Castro, and a hotel manager also present for part of the meeting claimed Mr. Castro’s health was “magnificent”.

In the article, Mr. Castro says he has been dealing with disinformation about Cuba since the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961.

He criticised Western media which he claimed were in the pocket of the rich, and singled out Spain’s ABC newspaper for publishing comments by a Venezuelan doctor who claimed to have information that Mr. Castro had suffered a stroke and had weeks to live.

Mr. Castro has been out of the public eye since March, when he received visiting Pope Benedict XVI. He also stopped writing his once constant opinion pieces, called “Reflections,” the last of which was published in June.

In the article Castro explains that he chose to stop the opinion pieces of his own accord, not because he was too sick to continue them. “I stopped publishing Reflections because it was really not my role to take up pages in our press which are needed for other work the country requires,” he wrote. Mr. Castro stepped down in 2006 following a severe illness, handing power to his brother Raul.

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