Rumors about Fidel’s Health Continue

Social media sites and some news organizations have reported allegations by a Venezuelan doctor, Jose Rafael Marquina, that Fidel Castro, 86, suffered a massive stroke, was in a vegetative state and had only weeks to live. Here are excerpts:

Marquina told the newspaper ABC in Spain that Castro had suffered a ‘‘massive embolism of the right cerebral artery’’ and while not on life support or breathing artificially, was ‘‘moribund’’ at a house in a gated former country club in western Havana. […]

Castro has not been seen in public since March, when he received visiting Pope Benedict XVI. He has also stopped writing his once-constant opinion pieces, the last of which appeared in June.

There was no immediate comment from the Cuban government on the latest claims, but a letter attributed to Castro was published Thursday by Cuban state media. In it, he congratulated graduates of a medical school on the occasion of its 50th anniversary.

Two close family members of Castro have also recently denied he is in grave condition. Juanita Castro, the former leader’s sister, told the AP in Miami that reports of her brother’s condition are ‘‘pure rumors’’ and ‘‘absurd.’’ Son Alex Castro told a reporter for a weekly Cuban newspaper that his father ‘‘is well, going about his daily life.’’

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