LONDON, Jan 9 – Twitter is abuzz with rumours that Cuba’s former communist leader Fidel Castro has died, although the timing is suspiciously close to the death of another high-profile person who shares his name.
While reports of the death of Cuba’s 88-year-old former leader could be true, there has been no official confirmation and his death has been mistakenly claimed on social media many times in the past.
Also casting doubt on today’s rumours is the possibility it has been confused with the recent death of the son of Nairobi’s opposition leader, named Fidel Castro Odinga, 41, who died only days ago.
However, speculation is rife that the former leader of Cuba has died after Venezuelan media reports the Cuban Government has called for a press conference with the international media today. Venezuela and Cuba have fostered a close relationship for decades.
The report in the Diario de Cuba, didn’t specify a time or subject for the press conference, saying that the Cuban government’s press office wouldn’t give out the information.
It has also been claimed Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has rushed to Havana, adding some substance to the rumours that Castro’s death could be announced.
Castro, who passed on Cuba’s leadership to his brother Raul in 2008, was announced Prime Minister of Cuba after overthrowing the government in 1959 and under his rule turned it into a one-party state.
He has lived in increasing seclusion from the outside world ever since he retired from the leadership amid speculation that his health was suffering.
It is understood he was recently being cared for by his wife and by a team of nurses. Once an enthusiastic food connoisseur, he has long since stopped visiting Havana restaurants.
Today his former Lieutenant Colonel Hugo Perez Silva told various outlets: ‘Fidel is waiting for the right moment, because he is a great prophet who knows the right moment to say what needs to be said.’