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Week After Latest Death Rumors, Cubans Get Letter From Fidel Castro

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro in March, when Pope Benedict XVI visited Havana.
L'Osservatore Romano Vatican-pool
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Former Cuban President Fidel Castro in March, when Pope Benedict XVI visited Havana.

One week after the latest rumors of his death, former Cuban leader Fidel Castro has emerged — sort of — in a letter he's said to have written.

"The Cuban government-run newspaper Granma has published a letter signed by Fidel Castro, the first by the 86-year-old former president to be made public since July," The Associated Press reports from Havana.

ITN News says the letter was also read on state-run television, and that Castro "used the 50th anniversary of [the] Havana medical school ... to attack America for 'taking' the island's 6,000 trained doctors" decades ago.

TheMiami Herald says the letter first surfaced at a graduation ceremony:

"Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro on Wednesday sent congratulations to a medical school graduation, his first reported but unconfirmed sign of life since widespread rumors last week that he was on his deathbed, in a coma or already dead.

"Cuba's official Prensa Latina news agency reported that Public Health Minister Roberto Morales had read Castro's message during the graduation ceremony Friday at the Victoria de Girón Institute for Basic and Pre-Clinical Sciences in Havana."

Earlier this week, Cuba announced it is lifting exit visa requirements for most of its citizens, which should make it easier for Cubans to travel.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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