[Marxism] Another Day, Another Claim That Castro Is Really Dead
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Sat Oct 20 16:01:23 MDT 2012
NY Times October 19, 2012
Another Day, Another Claim That Castro Is Really Dead
By DAMIEN CAVE
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
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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