“Fidel Castro is dying”.
That’s quite a headline, and all the more remarkable for appearing in Cuba’s famous state newspaper, Granma.
More astonishing still, however, is the byline: Fidel Castro.
And rumours of his demise – a Spanish newspaper quoted a Venezuelan doctor saying the former president was “very close to a neural-vegetative state” – have left Castro much exasperated.
It was all “imperialist propaganda”, writes Castro, with saw the western press “go into overdrive and news agencies to voraciously launch themselves after the lie”.
Reports “attributed the most unheard of nonsense to the patient”; indeed, “I don’t even remember what a headache is.”
Never one for brevity, Castro tells readers what he’s been up to.
I like to write and I am writing; I like to study and I am studying. There are many tasks in the area of knowledge. For example, never before have the sciences advanced at such an astounding speed.
But for the time being it is history exercising him – and he casts his mind back some 50 years.
When Khrushchev proposed the installation here of medium range missiles similar to those the United States had in Turkey – far closer to the USSR than Cuba to the United States – as a solidarity necessity, Cuba did not hesitate to agree to such a risk.
Our conduct was ethically irreproachable. We will never apologise to anyone for what we did. The fact is that half a century has gone by, and here we still are with our heads held high.