New photo of Fidel Castro debunks deathbed rumors

Published: Friday, January 23, 2009 at 2:18 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 23, 2009 at 2:18 p.m.

MIAMI A picture of the ailing Fidel Castro was released Friday for the first time in two months.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Fidel Castro
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Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Fidel Castro

In this picture released Friday, Jan. 23, 2009 by Argentina's Press Offices, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, posses with Cuba's former president Fidel Castro, during a meeting in Havana, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009. Castro said Thursday he doubts he'll make it to the end of Barack Obama's four-year term and instructed Cuban officials to start making their decisions without taking him into account.

AP Photo/Argentina's Presidency

The photograph taken Wednesday of Castro standing with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner appears to be part of a concerted effort by the Cuban government to dispel widespread rumors that the ailing former leader was on his deathbed.

No photos of him had been published since a November meeting with the president of China, and the once-prolific newspaper columnist went silent in December leading Cuba-watchers to believe his health had taken a turn for the worse.

But Castro met Wednesday with Fernandez de Kirchner, wrote a news column Thursday and Friday, and now the Argentine government released a photograph of their meeting.

The picture shows a standing Castro looking sullen in a blue track suit as Fernandez de Kirchner grasps his arm. The Argentine government news agency Telam said the picture was provided by Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Alejandro Gonzalez Galeano, who brought them on Castro's request.

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