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New Photos Show Castro ‘Alive And Kicking’ After Death Rumors

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(Source: Cuban Government)

(Source: Cuban Government)

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MIAMI (CBS4) – New pictures could put rumors of Fidel Castro’s death to rest.

Last week, the rumors of the 85-year-old former Cuban leader’s demise surfaced.  Days after, new pictures from a Venezuelan television interview became public proving the reports of Castro’s death to be premature.

The interview is his first interview since the firestorm of rumors started to grow after two weeks of unsourced media reports and outright rumors, most of them from Venezuela, that Castro had suffered a stroke, had recovered from a stroke, was terminally ill or was already dead.

An email titled “Fidel is Dead” that turned out to be carrying a virus further spread the rumors Those rumors were fueled by Castro’s absence from public view since April, when he looked particularly frail during an appearance at a Communist Party congress, and the fact that he had not written one of his columns since July 3.

The state-run Web site, Cubadebate, said the interview happened on Tuesday.

The photos published Thursday showed Fidel meeting with Mario Silva, the host of La Hojilla, a program on Venezuelan television that unconditionally supports President Hugo Chávez.

“For those who are this moment enjoying and believing that Comandante Fidel had a stroke, I am sorry to inform them that he’s alive and kicking,” Silva was quoted as saying in the Cubadebate report.

Silva was quoted as adding that he traveled to Cuba on Sunday and met with Castro on Tuesday “to knock down the lies of the Venezuelan opposition and the extreme right in Miami, which were spreading rumors that the Cuban leader had died.”

The photos show Silva and Fidel, who looks much more stooped than in recent photos and wears the top of a white track suit over a blue shirt, olive green pants and black sneakers.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report)

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