[Marxism] Another Day, Another Claim That Castro Is Really Dead

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Oct 20 16:01:23 MDT 2012

NY Times October 19, 2012
Another Day, Another Claim That Castro Is Really Dead

MEXICO CITY — Like a tropical storm, rumors about the failing health of 
Fidel Castro strengthened, swirled, dissipated and left everyone 
guessing again on Friday, as a doctor in Florida — and a Twitter account 
falsely linked to the Cuban foreign minister — claimed that Cuba’s 
retired leader was on his deathbed or dead.

It was at least the fifth time (or was it 50th?) that Mr. Castro had 
been sent to the grave by uncorroborated accounts since he left 
government after a mysterious ailment in 2006. And as with past claims, 
the reality of the situation was impossible to immediately determine.

Members of Mr. Castro’s family and the Cuban government, which considers 
Mr. Castro’s health a matter of national security, have denied the 
rumors. Officials with the Cuban foreign ministry, in a rare step, even 
used Twitter on Friday to denounce an account claiming to be 
administered by the foreign minister, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, after it 
sent out a death announcement for Mr. Castro.

The Twitter account was created only Thursday and, despite its 
official-seeming pronouncements, did not match the Foreign Ministry’s 
Twitter handle.

Similarly, the comments of a Venezuelan doctor in Naples, Fla., about 
the state of Mr. Castro’s health raised eyebrows because of the source: 
Dr. Jose Marquina, a sleep specialist who claimed in April that Hugo 
Chávez, Venezuela’s cancer-stricken president, was in his “last days.” 
(Mr. Chávez is not only alive, but he just won a heated presidential 
race this month).

Dr. Marquina seems to have set off the latest round of speculation by 
telling a Spanish newspaper and The Miami Herald this week that Mr. 
Castro had had a stroke and was in a vegetative state. He offered no 
proof, and when asked outside his Florida home on Friday to explain the 
basis for his assertions, he said: “No, no, no, no, no. I’m not doing 

Previously, Dr. Marquina has said he had a number of sources in 
Venezuela and Cuba who keep him informed about the health of both 
leaders, Latin America’s two most voluble leftists. Mr. Chávez has been 
out of the public eye for several days, without explanation. The 
speculation among some theorists: He is in Havana saying his final 
goodbyes to his close friend and mentor, Mr. Castro.

Cuban state media published a letter on Thursday that was said to be 
written by Mr. Castro, in which he congratulated medical school 
graduates. But for those who watch Cuba closely, Mr. Castro’s long 
illness; his age, 86; and the lack of visual proof that he is still 
alive have become too much to ignore.

Ann Louise Bardach, the author of several books on Cuba, including 
“Without Fidel,” said this round of rumors amounts to what could be the 
first “authentic red alert.”

“Here is what we know: We know there has been no photograph since 
March,” she said. “Every other time when they say he is dead or dying 
they show you a photo or video of someone visiting him.”

On Twitter, skeptics and believers seemed to emerge in equal number. A 
search for “Fidel” yielded a never-ending stream of commentary on Friday.

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