Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro attends the closing ceremony of the sixth Cuban Communist Party (PCC) congress in Havana (Photo : Reuters)
Viewed to some as a revolutionary, Fidel Castro, who has not been publicly seen since June, turns 86-years-old today.
Since taking over the Cuban island in 1958, Castro survived numerous assassination attempts, coups, has isolated the country from democratic powers, and aligning with the Soviet Union and Venezuela. But leading into the 21st century, Castro's power has diminished.
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Castro hasn't been in power since 2008, giving the reigns to his brother Raul and undergoing intestinal surgery.
His absence from the spotlight further ignites rumors about his ailing health, similar to the former North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il who refrained from appearing in public due to an illness.
In late March, Castro visited the Vatican embassy as Pope Benedict XIV visited the country. Witnesses noticed Castro needed assistance to walk and slow in his movement.
According to Reuters, the Cuban government is very quiet on detailing Castro's condition.
No longer in power, Castro turned to writing. He would publish a column titled "Reflections" which revolved around international politics. But since June, the lengthy reflections became shorter and to some contained "cryptic" messages.
Although Castro hasn't made a public appearance on his birthday, small concerts have been organized as well as an art show at the Plaza of the Revolution featuring moments from his childhood to his rise to power. The Union of Communist Youth sang Cuba's version of "Happy Birthday."