CARACAS, Sep 10: Fidel Castro, in an audio aired on
Venezuelan state television late yesterday, joked about rumors
circulating in the capital, Miami and on Twitter over the past few
weeks that he was gravely ill or had died.
The 85-year-old former Cuban president and revolutionary
icon had been out of sight for two months until photographs
published on Thursday and yesterday showed him chatting with
Venezuelan state TV commentator Mario Silva.
Some of the shots, showing Castro having a bowl of soup and
talking with Silva, were shown on Silva's regular late-night
talk show while an audio of the interview was broadcast.
''They've killed me off any number of times,'' Castro joked
in a hoarse but steady voice when asked by Silva about the
rumors of his demise. ''The guys who make these predictions make
me laugh, as if for me death would be bad news.''
Silva said the interview took place on Tuesday in Havana,
where he had gone to put to rest false reports about Castro's
health. His program supports Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.
The snapshots aired on the program show a gray-haired
Castro in a white windbreaker and a gray and white plaid shirt,
gesticulating during the interview.
Shots from the meeting with Silva were first posted on a
Cuban government website on Thursday. They provided the first
glimpse of Castro since he had appeared in early July in videos
with his friend and ideological soulmate Chavez, when the
latter received treatment for cancer in Cuba.