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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2584

Is Castro alive? Cuba says yes, Miami gossip no

By Laura Wides-Munoz

Miami , 26 August, (AP): The official word in Cuba is that Fidel Castro is still very much alive -- but you'd never know that on the streets of Miami.Fidel Castro has disappeared from public view after turning over power to his brother, Raul, last year because of an internal illnessFidel Castro has disappeared from public view after turning over power to his brother, Raul, last year because of an internal illness

Premature rumors of Castro's death are a staple in this heavily Cuban-exile city. But their frequency has intensified in recent days after his 81st birthday came and went Aug. 13 with neither pictures, letters nor recordings from him.

Friday, the rumors were pushed into overdrive by a meeting of local officials to go over their plans for when Castro really dies and a road closure in the Florida Keys that was actually due to a police standoff.

A circular game ensued with radio stations reporting the rumors, citing TV stations, which cited the rumors on the street.
Sandra Avila, an executive at a design firm, said clients and vendors called all day asking about the rumors.

''I've heard the rumors before, but there's a different feeling this time, like this time it's real,'' she said.

The rumor mill took off a year ago when the Cuban leader announced he would turn power over to his brother Raul because of an intestinal illness. Since then, Castro, who has ruled Cuba for nearly 48 years, has not been seen in public.
In Cuba, officials remained tightlipped.

''Fidel is doing very well and is disciplined in his recovery process,'' Cuban foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said Thursday.

On official television, there was no hint of trouble. A rerun of the hit NBC series ''Friends'' played Friday.

- Asian Tribune -

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