Cuba Politics

More chatter that Fidel Castro is dead - UPDATED 1/23 with Fidel Castro photo

Posted January 14, 2009 by publisher in Cuba Politics.

Rob Sequin | Havana Journal

The death of Fidel Castro has been a “fact” several times since he has fallen ill in July of 2006. As readers of the Havana Journal already know, he has not been seen in public since then. He has appeared in video clips and photos meeting with foreign leaders and others but this time, mounting evidence makes this time feel a little different. This evidence is coming directly from Fidel himself in such a way that things are TOO quiet in Cuba.

There are several articles below that all offer “evidence” that all is not so well with Fidel.

1. November 19 2008 photos of Fidel with Chinese President Hu showed Fidel looking terrible.

2. Long time Cuba journalist and expert Tracey Eaton speculates that something may not be right with Fidel because he didn’t have much to say for the eve of the anniversary of the Revolution on December 31, 2008.

3. The International Herald Tribune reports that Hugo Chavez says that Fidel Castro will not return to public life a few days ago.

4. The Sun Sentinel weighs in with a Where’s is Fidel? article yesterday.

5. Miami Herald’s Cuban Colada writes a nice summary of Fidel’s current state of health with a title Signs Keep Adding Up. The author Renato adds this interesting observation at #9 “The website Cubadebate on Tuesday published a praiseful article about President Correa’s visit written NOT by Fidel but by Randy Alonso Falcón, host of the TV program Round Table, in which Fidel often participated. I find this remarkable. This kind of laudatory article about a visiting leader has always been written by Fidel, not by a surrogate.”

6. Jeff Franks from Reuters is compelled to write about Fidel’s absence and how the silence is stirring rumors about the state of Fidel Castro’s health... or would that be the state of Fidel Castro’s death?

7. Uncommon Sense blog and Cuban insider Marc Masferrer is reporting that he is hearing things inside Cuba about Fidel Castro’s death.

8. Reliable journalist Frances Robles is reporting that “‘reliable sources have said that Fidel Castro has taken gravely ill”.

Oddly enough though, ardent Cuba watcher and rabid anti-Castro website has little to say about any of this.

So, is all this just the same information feeding on itself. Is Fidel Castro healthy? Is this all a ploy by the Cuban government to test the loyalties of lower level military personnel? Are these just rumors that are in some way timed to be relevant to Obama’s inauguration?

I don’t know. I am not declaring Fidel dead but if you have ANY interest in anything Cuba related, you better be paying attention.


I just made a pass through all the Cuba news sources and blogs that I follow and no mention of any updates regarding the health, life or death of Fidel Castro. I am surprised that the Cuban government has not released any statement about Fidel or that Fidel has not published a Reflection of any kind now since December 15, which is five weeks back.

Why is there no news or word from Fidel Castro? Too quiet if you ask me. No parting words for George Bush?

UPDATE 1/21… again


Cuban President Raul Castro dismissed rumors on Wednesday that his older brother Fidel Castro was at death’s door, saying he is exercising and helping him in his duties.

“He is exercising, thinking a lot, reading a lot, assisting me and helping,” Raul Castro told reporters at Havana airport where he was seeing off Argentine President Cristina Fernandez after her official visit to Cuba.

“Soon I’m going to make a trip to Europe. Do you think I could leave from here if Fidel was gravely ill?” he said. Speculation about Fidel Castro’s condition had risen in recent weeks after he stopped writing opinion columns and did not attend celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the revolution.

and this

“We talked about everything. He looked very good to me. We talked about the international situation,” she was quoted as saying by Argentina’s official news agency, Telam.


So, even though this “evidence” is sketchy, I am going to believe it but reserve the idea that perhaps Fidel’s mind is dead but not his body.

Member Comments

On January 14, 2009, edward wrote:

Hi Rob

Y’know, I have been keeping tabs on Fidel’s reflections and I did wonder at his very brief last message, which is not archived on the Granma site. It was something like “Wishing Everyone a Good 2009” it was VERY brief, and then it was taken down again.

I thought it was unusual, it struck me as odd that it was so brief and that it’s not there anymore and so far, as you mention, there have been no new reflections. I wouldn’t be surprised if the old man has run out of steam, I mean he’s done fifty years of fighting in the ideological front line, holding firm against all the odds. Maybe he understands that for him the battle is over, his body and faculties have given up, age catches up with everyone in the end. Yes the ideological struggle will perhaps always go on but now maybe it’s time for evolution and not revolution, indeed, a new era.

There could well be some BIG news from both sides of the divide during the coming days and weeks…

On January 14, 2009, publisher wrote:

The New York Times just picked up the story about the chatter… not so much about Fidel’s health or that they have anything to add, just an article about the articles.

Buzz Grows over Castro’s Health

On January 14, 2009, publisher wrote:

Spanish language Miami based Diaro las Americas is reporting that Fidel Castro is in a coma.

In English: “Sources close to children and families in Cuba say that Fidel Castro fell into a coma and is in serious condition with an artificial respirator.”

Thanks to Mambi Watch for the tip.

On January 14, 2009, abh wrote:

Is Diaro las Americas a credible source?  This is not a rhetorical question, I’m just wondering.

On January 14, 2009, publisher wrote:

That is a fair question. I don’t live in Miami so I don’t know them but they have been around for a while.

At the bottom of the site it says:

This site is powered by Hispanic Digital Network.

The domain was registered in 1996 and there are dozens of other media related websites on the same server.

So, to answer your question I would say they are a credible source but maybe some other readers would like to comment on the credibility of Diario Las Americas?

On January 14, 2009, publisher wrote:

Now CBS is getting into the story too with Is Fidel Castro Gravely Ill?

“The source says that they are coming in from so many different places that he gives more credence to them than usual. “

“El País newspaper in Spain reported Wednesday that there were apparent movements at the Armed Forces and Interior Ministries Friday after Castro suffered a “possible’’ heart attack. Another Spain-based web site,, reported that his condition was ‘‘irreversible.”

Funny though that the article ends with “Fidel Castro’s death, then, would be symbolically important, but would have little practical effect in Cuba.”

Really? No effect? Really?

On January 15, 2009, Wayne wrote:

yeah right. Is this wishful thinking? Haven’t you yanks got it? It is not about Fidel. It is about a lifestyle and culture.

They do not want to be dominated by the U.S. I know you believe that 6 billion of the world want to get green cards - - - but not true!

On January 15, 2009, paul wrote:

You lost me once you used that stupid word…“yank”.

On January 15, 2009, grant frame wrote:

Yank from WW2, american troops in England called yanks.Also from yankee doddle dandy. (Cohen)

On January 15, 2009, paul wrote:

Thanks Captain Obvious.

It’s usually used in a pejorative fashion (like in his post), which is what I meant.

On January 15, 2009, abh wrote:

I agree, I hate those damn Yankees, I mean do they really have to sign every damn free agent out there?  Abajo con el imperio Yanqui de la pelota!

On January 15, 2009, Lee wrote:

“Captain Obvious”...LOL. that was brilliant.

On January 15, 2009, publisher wrote:

Frances Robles, respected Miami Herald journalist and regular contributor to the Cuban Colada blog is reporting that University of Miami’s Andy Gomez is declaring “the Cuban government has called up its special forces to protect the upper echelon of power”.

Mr. Gomez is an an advisor to the U.S. Task Force on Cuba.

Gomez said the word comes from “high level sources” in Washington, D.C.
He stressed that troop movements on the streets of Cuba have not been detected, but that the Ministry of Interior had called in special units to protect the inner circle “just in case.”

The article also says “U.S. State Department officials said they had no knowledge of any special forces deployment.”

The Cuban Armed Forces has several special forces units, including the “black berets” - charged with the security detail of the top members of government. They tend to be more defensive than offensive, experts say.

So, Mr. Gomez knows more than the US State Department? Interesting. The story says that Mr. Gomez got his information from “high level sources” in Washington DC yet the US State Department doesn’t have any information?

If Mr. Gomez is wrong, he is going to look as silly as Perez Hilton did after Perez declared that Fidel Castro was dead last time rumors swirled.

On January 15, 2009, Patricio wrote:

Not a big yank fan either, but I am from New Orleans, so what do you expect?  wink

As for change, I can see why an article may quote or state that change may not come when el viejo finally passes on to Hell.  The hope of el viejo is exactly that.  He or they have hoped that the last 2.5 years has amounted to a successful transition to Raul to ensure the continued existence of the Communist dicatorship.  That remains to be seen, but if it somehow does survive, and it might, the real test may come after Raul dies.  I tend to think that Raul may loosen things up out of at least practical necessity.  No one could do anything with Fidel around.  You just couldn’t do anything without the old man having a hand in it, or that would be your arse.  When el viejo dies (if he isn’t already dead), that should change.  At any rate, this is great news.  While we are seeing an American presidential transition, we may also finally be seeing some sort of transition en Cuba.  I have never been one to hope that anyone dies, but if there is an exception for me, Fidel y su hermano are it.  Ya!

On January 16, 2009, publisher wrote:

We published this article two days ago as did many main stream news organizations. In the past when there were rumors of Fidel’s death, there would be some statement from him, a Reflection published or some photo or video released.

Today, all is quiet.

Too quiet. The silence is deafening as they say.

So, either the Cuban government is dismissing and ignoring all these news reports or Raul is not yet ready to confirm or deny the “rumors”.

Is Fidel Castro dead?

On January 17, 2009, publisher wrote:

From Cuban Colada:

Fidel Castro “is working, writing and on top of the world situation,” said Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, Friday in Maracaibo, according to The Associated Press.

Hugo2 “I received a letter from Fidel a week ago, some 8 or 10 days,” the French news agency AFP quoted Chávez as saying. “Everybody knows Fidel’s health; I know it very well,” he said in a brief response to questions about a statement he made on Sunday, to the effect that Castro would never return to public life. “There are people who have been assigned to launch rumors about his situation,” Chávez told the AP. “This is what I know, what I’m aware of and what I believe,” he added.

Renato Pérez Pizarro.


So what is it? Chavez got a letter 8 to 10 days ago but 6 days ago he said Fidel will never be seen in public again?

and we’re the ones launching rumors?

I’d like to hear from Fidel, Raul, Granma or the for an update on Castro’s health.

On January 17, 2009, publisher wrote:

Yesterday Cuba’s First Vice-President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura received Moses Wetang´ ula, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kenya and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez is scheduled to arrive in Cuba on Sunday for her first state visit.

With news like this, I’m not sure Fidel Castro is dead or dying unless of course these visits have been scheduled for many weeks and canceling them would look suspicious?

Tough call.

On January 17, 2009, Patricio wrote:

I thought the visits were scheduled.  At least the Argentine visit?  Interesting point, nonetheless.  It is too quiet.  Ya me canse!  lol

On January 20, 2009, grant frame wrote:

Yanks! Fidel will live until the end of history. Fidel Castro the George Washington of Cuba.

On January 20, 2009, publisher wrote:

Oh puke.

Jose Marti is the George Washington of Cuba and Fidel should be ashamed any time he mentions Marti.

The two men are exact opposites.

Fidel is the Benedict Arnold of Cuba. How about that?

On January 21, 2009, pipefitter wrote:

Telesur reported Christina Fernandez met with fidel before she went to the Argentine Embassy in Havana and that he looked well, they discussed world events etc. (see Telesur webpage)

On January 21, 2009, publisher wrote:

Please post the link here. I have not heard this and frankly I don’t believe it.

On January 21, 2009, publisher wrote:

I just updated the main text of the article above.

Pipefitter, you are right. Sorry for my disbelief.

This line from another article:

“The spokesman said their meeting was not part of Fernandez’s agenda but was arranged by Raul Castro, who drove the Argentine leader to the meeting. But Fernandez and Fidel Castro met alone.”

is pretty disturbing.

I can hear the conversation now. Raul tells President Fernandez that she HAS to meet Fidel and then tell reporters that she had a great meeting with Fidel… thanks for coming to Cuba. Bye.

On January 22, 2009, grant frame wrote:

Publisher appears a little bit biased. In truth G.W was a traitor to England and BN was a reformed traitor.

On January 22, 2009, publisher wrote:

This article from Reuters says that Fidel has published another Reflection so once again Fidel lives on although I am not sure why it took them so long to deny the rumors this time.

So much for reliable sources and Diaro Las Americas’ source that Fidel was in a coma.

On January 22, 2009, publisher wrote:

One last thought.

Were are the photos of Fidel with President Fernandez?

Simple question.

Obviously they made a conscious decision to not release or perhaps even take any photos.

On January 22, 2009, publisher wrote:

Video of Raul and President Fernandez at Jose Marti airport.

On January 23, 2009, publisher wrote:

I guess someone reads the Havana Journal grin

I was wondering why no photos were released. I wonder if she had permission from Raul to post this photo on the official website of the Argentina President.

Fidel doesn’t look so “lucid” in this photo. He is holding on to her like a dying patient would hold onto a nurse’s arm.

Here’s the photo of Fidel Castro with Argentina President Cristina Fernandez


On January 24, 2009, pipefitter wrote:

Actualy, he looks like he has gained a bit of weight from his last photos. I thought he might have mustered a smile though being beside that nice looking Cristina woman. I bet that Publisher won’t look that good in his 80’s!

On February 01, 2009, lyndy wrote:

I live in England and I always try keeping up to date on the information on Cuba as I go there often and have friends living there. I was reading the tele/text service on my TV the day Obama was inaugurated and on the world issues was a statement from Fidel Castro wishing Obama luck and he said he would not be here to see the president finish his first term in office. I really don’t think he has long to live, never heard or seen a statement like that ever from him.
My friends in Cuba actually sat on the beach with me for the first time last year without being nervous, Things are changing in Cuba, I can actually pay for them to join me in my hotel this year.  It may be slow coming but the changes are coming.

On October 09, 2011, castrodead wrote:

Here is the answer, in a trag-comic way. It’s called Fidle Castro is Dead by Pradeep Persaud

On October 09, 2011, castrodead wrote:

Fidel Castro is Dead by Pradeep Persaud