Former Cuban President Fidel Castro is not dead. The former Cuban dictator his first public appearance in nine months Wednesday night. Castro, 87, was seen among the crowds of people enjoying the opening of a new art studio in Havana, Cuba.
Artist Alexis Leyva, owner of the art studio, was photographed sitting next to Castro with his arm around him. Other newspapers and websites posted photographs of the controversial Cuban leader. Fidel Castro had not been seen publicly since April 9, 2013. His appearance then was for the opening of the Havana school.
Many rumors have swirled at various times since 2006 about the former Cuban leaders death. For 48 years, Castro led Cuba through a people’s revolution, taking the country into the Communism still employed by the Cuban government. His brother Raul became president in 2008 after Fidel’s health took a turn for the worse.
The death of Nelson Mandela caused many to speculate about the possible reappearance of Fidel Castro. Though Nelson Mandela has largely been hailed as a hero for his revolutionary efforts to end apartheid in South Africa, Castro has been portrayed as a villain by the west. What many may not know is that Mandela was somewhat of an admirer of Castro’s revolution in Cuba. The Huffington Post wrote an excellent piece highlighting the two international leaders’ relationship. In his 2008 autobiography, Mandela wrote:
“Any and every source was of interest to me. I read the report of Blas Roca, the general secretary of the Community Party of Cuba, about their years as an illegal organization during the Batista regime. In Commando, by Deneys Reitz, I read of the unconventional guerrilla tactics of the Boer generals during the Anglo-Boer War. I read works by and about Che Guevara, Mao Tse-tung, Fidel Castro.”
Fidel Castro was one of the primary supporters of Mandela’s political party, the African National Congress. Throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, Cuba’s military support of Angola was one of the primary factors in the ANC’s rise to power. Mandela credited Cuba and Castro with helping his party to gain power in South Africa. After his release from prison in 1990, Mandela even visited Cuba to meet with Castro.
— BBC News US (@BBCNewsUS) January 9, 2014
Of course, many Cubans have defected from their home country, claiming Castro and his regime to be a dictatorship committing horrible evils against their people. Fidel Castro is not dead, but many speculate that his regime is so strong now, it would take another revolution to overcome it.