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Last Updated: Monday, 27 August 2007, 08:32 GMT 09:32 UK
Castro column amid health rumours
Fidel Castro seen on a Cuban TV programme in June 2007
Pictures of Fidel Castro were last aired on Cuban TV in June
The Cuban press has published an article by President Fidel Castro, amid a wave of speculation among Cuban exiles over the state of his health.

Mr Castro, 81, has not appeared in public since July last year when he underwent emergency intestinal surgery.

Cuban officials have insisted he is on the road to recovery.

The essay, the latest in a series of articles by the president, was dated 25 August and appeared in the Communist Youth newspaper, Juventud Rebelde.

In the article, Mr Castro makes no mention of his health but writes about the events of the 1950s that eventually saw him and his band of rebels topple Fulgencio Batista and come to power.

Front page of Juventud Rebelde with Fidel Castro's article
Fidel Castro's latest article was a historical reflection

Specifically, he mentioned Eduardo Chibas, head of Cuba's Orthodox Party, who was born 100 years ago this month.

Chibas committed suicide in 1951, a year before Batista seized power in a coup.

"With Chibas alive there would have been no way for (Batista) to carry out a coup, because the founder of the Cuban People (Orthodox) party watched him closely and methodically put him up for public scrutiny," Mr Castro wrote.

Rumours

The article, which was published on Sunday, is the latest by Mr Castro to appear in recent months, but there have been no official photographs or video footage of him since 5 June.

The lack of images has intensified the rumours among Cuban exiles in Miami about President Castro's health and even his death.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who is a close ally, on Saturday denied the rumours.

"Those who want Fidel to die are going to be frustrated, because Fidel Castro will never die and will always be alive in the Cuban people, in the Venezuelan people, and the people of America," Mr Chavez said.

Last Thursday, Cuba's Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said Mr Castro was doing "very well" and was determined to fully recover from ill health.


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