Fidel Castro Suffered Massive Stroke, Doctor Claims

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro suffered from a massive stroke that has left him hardly able to eat, speak, and recognize people, according to a Venezuelan doctor.

The doctor, Jose Marquina, revealed that he has access to firsthand sources, who say that the 86-year-old former Cuban leader who was last seen in public in March suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, reports Fox News. Marquina stated:

“He suffered an embolic stroke and recognizes absolutely no one. The people with a condition of this nature have difficulty eating and, of course, they end up with total deficit in their neurologic capacities.”

Rumors regarding Castro’s health have been circulating off and on since March, especially after he stopped posting blogs in summer. Cuban news media published Castro’s first new writing in months on Thursday.

The letter congratulated students at a Colombian medical institute on the school’s 50th anniversary, and also recalled how it was converted into an anti-aircraft installation during the Cuban Missile Crisis, just days after it opened in 1962. Fidel Castro wrote:

“In that spirit was born and grew the tradition of that medical institution which, after the most critical days were overcome, was able to forge tens of thousands of professionals and take our country to the highest levels of prevention and health.”

According to The Australian, however, the claims that Fidel Castro had a severe stroke are false. The news site ads that Marquina is the same doctor who claimed in April that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has been been battling cancer, was in his “last days” and would not live until November.

Chavez has since stated that he beat the illness and appears healthy when making public appearances. While there was no immediate response to the claims by the Cuban government, two of Fidel Castro’s close family members denied the rumors. Juanita Castro, the sister of the former Cuban leader, stated that the rumors of her brother’s failing health were “pure rumors” and “absurd.”

The former leader’s son, Alex Castro, has also recently spoken out about his father’s health, saying that he “is well, going about his daily life.”