Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated: Fidel Castro proves he's alive...and gardening

Former leader hits back at claims he had a stroke and had only weeks to live

There are few public figures who have been reportedly on their deathbed as many times as former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, and once again the claims would appear to have been exaggerated.

The 86-year-old revolutionary icon, who stepped down as Cuban leader in 2006, has hit back at rumours of his demise commenting that he doesn't even suffer from headaches.

A newspaper article, published in the Cuban state media, features pictures taken by his son - Alex Castro - showing the former leader in a checked shirt and Panama hat, walking around a garden.

"I don't even remember what a headache feels like," 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 today.

It is the latest evidence that the former Cuban president is alive and seemingly well after more than a week of intense speculation that he was seriously ill.

Social media sites Twitter and Facebook have recently been alive with rumours of Mr Castro's supposed illness - and reports of his failing health had appeared in newspapers across the world.

Just yesterday, however, a visiting former Venezuelan vice president released a photo of a meeting he said he had the previous day with Castro.

A hotel manager also present for part of the meeting claimed Castro's health was "magnificent."

Castro used an article today to criticise the Western media, who he said are in the pocket of the rich.

In the piece he singled out a Spainish newspaper for publishing comments by a Venezuelan doctor who claimed to have information that Castro had suffered a stroke and had weeks to live.

Castro has been out of the public eye since March, when he received visiting Pope Benedict XVI.

The former communist leader also stopped writing his once constant opinion pieces, called "Reflections," the last of which was published in June.

Former Venezuelan Vice President Elias Jaua said he met with Castro for five hours and showed The Associated Press photos of the encounter, quashing rumors that the former Cuban leader was on his deathbed or had suffered a massive stroke.

Jaua also confirmed that Castro personally accompanied him to the Hotel Nacional after their encounter Saturday, in which they talked about politics, history, culture and tourism.

"He had the courtesy of bringing me to the hotel," Jaua said Sunday, adding that Castro looked "very well."

In the article today, 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.

Castro stepped down in 2006 following a severe illness, handing power to his brother Raul.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Software Tester

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Software Tester is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Developer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: The Company sells mobile video advertising sol...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have a vacancy within our ra...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - 1st Line Helpdesk - West London - £25,000

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - 1st Line Helpde...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project