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September 22, 2007
Castro Still Alive: Cuban People Hardest Hit
Every once and a while when rumors of his death reach a frenzied peak, the Cuban government props up Fidel Castro and puts him in front of a camera to show that he's still alive:
"Nobody knows the day they are going to die." "Well, here I am ... nobody knows when they will die", he added. His might be one of the most anticipated deaths in history. For a man who loves the limelight, Castro has been conspicuously absent from public for months at a time. Just last week in Miami's "Little Havanna" rumors were running hot that Castro was dead. With this interview, it appears that those reports were false.
Wearing a track suit in the red, white and blue colours of Cuba, Mr Castro spoke in a soft, slow voice as he discussed the US economy, global oil prices and the rambling essays he had written over the past months.
The Cuban leader, who took power on the Caribbean island in a 1959 revolution, handed over control to his younger brother, Raul Castro, in July after emergency intestinal surgery. Mr Castro's closest ally,
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, said earlier that his political mentor had undergone several blood transfusions and had almost died.
Meanwhile, the manuevering for power goes on with Raul Castro trying to cement his authority by cracking down on dissidents. This pleases the old guard of the revolution who still wield enormous power in Cuba. But once Castro is gone, it is unclear whether other, more moderate forces can move to the front. or whether Raul can be as ruthless as his brother in stifling calls for change.