Castro fuels rumors of a Chávez death watch

Rumors are flying in Venezuela that Hugo Chávez is on his death bed  - fighting a respiratory infection in a Havana oncology ward that, according to official statements, developed after his fourth cancer surgery. Now, Fidel Castro is fueling rumors of a death watch with an open letter to Venezuelan Vice President Nicolás Maduro. It has the tone of a funeral eulogy. Sent by Castro on New Year's Day, the 350-word letter also was published in Granma, the official newspaper of the Cuban Communist Party's Central Committee. Castro, a mentor to Chávez over the years, recalls his first meeting with Venezuela's strongman in Havana in 1994; this was not long after Chávez, then a cashiered Army paratrooper, was released from prison for leading an aborted military coup in 1992. Castro details his revolutionary struggles with Chávez and - most tellingly - observes that "however painful (Chávez's) absence, all of you will be capable of continuing his work." Cuba...(Read Full Post)