First came the comments, more than a month after the U.S. and Cuba engaged in historic talks to reestablish diplomatic relations between both countries, but now a series of photos came out on Cuban state-run media, trying to squelch rumors once and for all that Fidel Castro is alive.
Cuban newspaper Granma released a series of photos on Tuesday that for the first time in five months show Fidel Castro alive, having what is supposed to be a lively conversation with a university student from the University Students Federation. Even though he appears hunched over in a chair, reading a periodical, the photo depicts him with an animated face, seemingly engaged in a conversation with the student.
Since his brother Raul Castro announced the talks with the United States on December 17th, Fidel, who normally chimes in one of his editorial pieces on “Granma” had not been heard of, fueling once-again, speculation on his death.
Close to 24 photos of Castro were published arounnd midnight, just in time for Senate hearings involving key diplomats and Senators in Washington on the controversial talks that have taken place between both countries. Among those present are hardliners against the Castro dictatorship, Senators Marco Rubio and Mel Martinez. Also present was Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson, a key figure in negotiations who has visited Cuba for the talks.
The article reports that Fidel Castro was seated discussing current events with Randy Perdomo Garcia, head of the Cuban student union, a meeting that took place on January 23rd.
Fidel Castro discusses current events with student
The student leader says Castro said that he is keeping abreast of the news and performing daily exercises, and he engaged Perdomo in a wide-ranging discussion of topics including international politics, agriculture, astronomy, and even Namibia’s donation of animals to Cuba’s National Zoo.
Perdomo says the two men discussed the release of three Cuban intelligence agents as part of the Dec. 17 declaration by Cuba and the United States that they would move to re-establish full diplomatic relations. The photos show Castro examining a newspaper report on their release.
“I’m about to go but he continues a conversation about new ways of fighting some diseases, including diabetes, with the production of natural foods; about Cuba’s relations with Africa, from its contribution to those countries’ independence to the end of apartheid and the current contribution of Cuban doctors to the fight against Ebola,” Perdomo wrote.
Before these photos were released, the last ones to be made public of the ailing Cuban leader were in August, when Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro paid him a visit.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.