Fidel Castro showed new signs of life on Monday, blasting journalists and doctors who had recently speculated about his health.
The former Cuban leader, who was rumored to be on his deathbed last week, published a fiery article in the state-run news site Cuba Debate on Monday, in which he discussed his health condition, talked about the 1962 Cuban missile crisis and also showed several pictures of himself walking around a tropical garden.
"A Venezuelan doctor who lives who-knows-where [in Naples, Florida] said that Castro was suffering from a stroke in the right half of the brain," Castro writes in the article, which is ironically titled "Fidel Castro is Agonizing."
"This presumed doctor, who has abandoned his compatriots [by emigrating to Florida]…qualified my state of health as 'close to being in a vegetative state'," Castro writes.
"Although many people in the world are fooled by information institutions, that are almost all in the hands of the rich, and publish such stupidities, the people believe less in them every day," Castro reasons, before leaving the reader with several pictures of himself strolling around a lush tropical garden. In one of the photos, Castro holds Granma's most recent Sunday edition.
Castro does not mention however, that his conduct may have prompted international media to speculate about his health.
The 86-year-old Communist leader, who ruled Cuba from 1959 to 2006, had not appeared in public since March, when he held a brief meeting with Pope Benedict XVI. Castro had also stopped writing columns in Granma since June. These columns, which are known as Castro's "Reflections" are usually placed in the paper's front page and read word by word on state owned radio and TV outlets.
Castro said that his decision to stop publishing his column had nothing to do with his health condition.
"I stopped publishing "Reflections," because it is not my intent to occupy the pages of our press, which is focused on other tasks at hand in the country," Castro wrote in Cuba Debate.
Castro never fully disclosed the details of the illness that forced him to retire in 2006. As you can see in the pictures, the Comandante looks somewhat frail under his big farmer hat, although he stands on his own two feet and conserves his trademark beard.