Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro shows a copy of the Oct. 19, 2012 Granma newspaper in Havana Oct. 19, 2012. Castro dismissed reports that he was dead or near death in an article published on Monday in Cuba's state-run press. He accused news agencies and enemies of Cuba of spreading "stupidities" about him, particularly a report from a Spanish newspaper last week that said he had suffered a massive stroke and was in a vegetative state. Picture taken Oct. 19, 2012. (Photo : Reuters)
The rumors of his failing health were "lies," former Cuban President Fidel Castro said Monday.
Elias Jaua, a former Venezuelan vice president who said he met with the Cuban revolutionary leader over the weekend, confirmed that Castro was alive and well, Reuters reported Monday.
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Jaua, now an aide to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, showed pictures to reporters of Castro-taken during the Saturday meeting-which appear to show Castro in good health.
Much has been said about the health of the decades-long leader of Cuba, with rumors about Castro's near-death state of health running rampant on social media and Twitter recently.
According to a Monday article published in the New York Times, Castro-who led a military coup in Cuba to become the country's prime minister in 1959, and later serving as its president until heath issues forced him to retire in 2008-even wrote an article poking fun at the rumors of his failing health titled, sardonically, "Fidel Castro is Dying," which ran on the state web site Cubadebate, along with several recent photographs of himself.
In the article, Castro rebuked what he deemed as lies from the "imperialist propaganda" machine that he had been contending with since taking power in Cuba more than five decades ago.
"Birds of ill omen! I don't even remember what a headache feels like. Just to prove what liars they are, I'll present them with the photos illustrating this article," he wrote in the article, according to Fox News Latino.
Mixed reactions ranging from support to cynicism came from Cubans.
"He looks well to me and the truth is I'm happy, but one day he will die because at his age he's on borrowed time," Camilo Fuentes, a 67-year-old Havana resident, told the Washington Post.
"I think it is a big show," added Carina Rojo, a 57-year-old retiree. "People don't care anymore ... there is much more interest in these things outside the country."
A video illustrating the photographs along with the story can be seen here via the Associated Press.