New photo of Fidel Castro debunks deathbed rumors

Miami HeraldJanuary 23, 2009 

Argentina Fidel Castro

Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez, right, and Cuba's former President Fidel Castro pose for a photo during a meeting in Havana.

ARGENTINA'S PRESIDENTIAL PRESS OFFICE / AP

A picture of the ailing Fidel Castro was released Friday for the first time in two months.

The photograph taken Wednesday of Castro standing with Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner appears to be part of a concerted effort by the Cuban government to dispel widespread rumors that the ailing former leader was on his deathbed.

No photos of him had been published since a November meeting with the president of China, and the once-prolific newspaper columnist went silent in December -- leading Cuba-watchers to believe his health had taken a turn for the worse.

But Castro met Wednesday with Fernández de Kirchner, wrote a news column Thursday and Friday, and now the Argentine government released a photograph of their meeting.

The picture shows a standing Castro looking sullen in a blue track suit as Fernández de Kirchner grasps his arm. The Argentine government news agency Télam said the picture was provided by Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Alejandro González Galeano, who brought them on Castro's request.

Castro broke his five-week silence Thursday, publishing his first newspaper column since December, and the first since last week's speculation that he was gravely ill.

Read the complete story at miamiherald.com

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