October 22nd, 2012
04:58 AM ET

Castro scoffs at death rumors: 'I don't even remember what a headache is'

Cuba has stepped up efforts to douse speculation over the health of its former leader Fidel Castro by publishing an article under his name in state-run media in which he scoffs at recent rumors and those who circulated them.

The article, published on the official website Cubadebate early Monday, is accompanied by photos of Castro, 86, walking with a cane in a garden and looking at a copy of Granma, the state-run newspaper.

"I don't even remember what a headache is," Castro writes in the article, saying the photos are "proof of what liars" those responsible for the rumors are.

The article comes after a former Venezuelan vice president said Sunday that Castro was "doing very well" and showed reporters a snapshot of the former Cuban leader that he said was taken the day before.

Speculation has surged over Castro's health in recent weeks. He has not been seen publicly since March, when he met with Pope Benedict XVI during the pontiff's visit to Cuba.

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Filed under: Cuba • Fidel Castro • Venezuela
April 10th, 2012
02:04 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Ozzie Guillen's remarks about Castro stir buzz, backlash

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Readers can't stop talking about Ozzie Guillen's remarks praising Cuba's Fidel Castro. The Miami Marlins suspended Guillen for five games, effective immediately, on Tuesday, just before Guillen apologized for what he said.

Marlins suspend manager Guillen for 5 games; he apologizes for Castro comments

Those who have spoken out seemed to be of two camps: Those who think reaction to gaffes is overblown and Americans' right to free speech is increasingly in danger, and those who believe Guillen should not expect to be able to say whatever he wants without consequences.

godsturn: "Don't we have free speech in this country?"

bill: "Sure we do, but even though he may not face civil or criminal prosecution for his supidity for sharing his comments with the rest of America, he will be tried in the court of public opinion. And the public has a right to be angry at his comments and to act against the Marlins for employing this fool. The First Amendment protects your right to say it, but that doesn't mean that you should or that the greater public is going to support or agree with you."

This commenter said they don't believe that a person's comments should have to do with game play.

zma1013: "What the hell does a Castro comment have to do with baseball?? Why is this guy sitting out five games for something that has nothing to do with baseball? I don't care if he said that Hitler was a nice guy, that doesn't relate to baseball at all or his job managing the team at all."

But for some, Miami's Cuban cultural influences should have been Guillen's red flag. FULL POST

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Filed under: Baseball • Cuba • Fidel Castro • Florida • Overheard on CNN.com • Sports • U.S.
April 10th, 2012
12:34 PM ET

Marlins suspend manager Guillen for 5 games; he apologizes for Castro comments

The Miami Marlins suspended manager Ozzie Guillen for five games, effective immediately, on Tuesday, just before Guillen apologized for recent comments praising Cuba's Fidel Castro.

Guillen sparked a firestorm when he told Time magazine recently that he respected  Castro for being able to lead Cuba for six decades.

"I respect Fidel Castro," Guillen said in the article. "You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that son of a bitch is still there."

Guillen apologized during a press conference Tuesday, first speaking in Spanish, saying that he had "betrayed a Latin community" and that he was speaking to "ask for forgiveness with my heart in my hand."

But, he said, he originally spoke of Castro in Spanish and "the translation to English was a bit confusing."

In response to questions in English on Tuesday, Guillen said he was "very stupid" to make comments outside of baseball.

"Politics has nothing to do with sports," Guillen said.

"This is the biggest mistake so far in my life," he said.


April 9th, 2012
04:29 PM ET

Ozzie Guillen to fly home to Miami to address Fidel Castro backlash

Ozzie Guillen has a knack for controversial statements and it's easy to treat his bombast as Ozzie being Ozzie, but his latest words on his respect for former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro aren't going away - not in Miami.

Guillen, who took over the Miami Marlins this season after eight years with the Chicago White Sox, announced he was flying back to Miami after the Phillies game tonight to hold a press conference about the remarks, according to The Miami Herald.

“I was planning to do something Friday, but (Tuesday) we have the day off and I want to make everything clear so people can talk to me face-to-face,” Guillen told the paper. “They can ask me whatever questions they want, and the sooner the better for the people, for the ball-club and for me. I want to tell people what is going on in my mind and what I believe.”

He said he hasn't been able to sleep for three days because of the controversy and he wanted to speak to the media and people of Miami in person, rather than via a statement.

“I want the people there,” Guillen said. “I feel embarrassed. ... Only my wife knows how bad it’s been last few days. I feel very guilty, sad and embarrassed. Anyone who wants to be there, feel free. I want the Cuban people to understand what I’m going to say because everything I’m going to say is true.”

Guillen sparked the firestorm when he told Time magazine recently that he respected Castro for being able to lead Cuba for six decades.


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Filed under: Baseball • Cuba • Fidel Castro • Florida • Protest • Sports • U.S. • World
February 4th, 2012
04:44 PM ET

Fidel Castro unveils 1,000-page memoir

Fidel Castro has released a previously unannounced two-volume memoir of his life, Cuban state-run media reported Saturday.

In a six-hour presentation Friday, the leader of the Cuban Revolution and former president was jovial as he spoke about the 1,000-page work, the Granma newspaper reported.

Castro, 85, spoke together with a panel of cultural and literary officials at the unveiling of the books.

"They are going to talk to you about two books that you had no idea about," Castro said, according to Granma.

The two volumes, titled "Fidel Castro Ruz: Guerrilla of Time," is based on conversations with the writer and journalist Katiuska Blanco.

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Filed under: Cuba • Fidel Castro
Cuban leader criticizes Obama U.N. speech
September 26th, 2011
10:25 AM ET

Cuban leader criticizes Obama U.N. speech

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro ended a long writing hiatus Monday, penning a three-page essay printed in state media slamming U.S. President Barack Obama's speech to the United Nations last week.

"Who understands the gibberish of the President of the United States speaking before the United Nations?" Castro wrote in his so-called "Reflection."

He also accused NATO of "monstrous crimes" in Libya and wrote that in Syria, "Yankee aggression could lead to an even more terrifying massacre than in Libya."

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Cuba • Fidel Castro
September 3rd, 2011
04:13 PM ET

Cuban defense minister dies of heart attack, state media reports

Cuba's defense minister died suddenly Saturday from a heart attack, the Caribbean nation's state news service reported.

Julio Casas Regueiro, 75, became head of Cuba's armed forces in February 2008.

A longtime revolutionary, he fought alongside Fidel and Raul Castro in the guerrilla war that brought the two brothers to power in January 1959.

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Filed under: Cuba • Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro calls bin Laden killing an assassination
Fidel Castro criticized the U.S. for killing Osama bin Laden.
May 5th, 2011
02:00 PM ET

Fidel Castro calls bin Laden killing an assassination

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro is slamming the method used to kill Osama bin Laden, saying there is no excuse for "assassinating" an unarmed man in front of his family.

"Whatever the actions attributed to bin Laden, the assassination of an unarmed human being surrounded by his family constitutes an abhorrent act," Castro wrote in an essay published in state media. Castro criticized bin Laden for "international terrorism" and said Cuba showed solidarity with the United States after the "brutal" September 11 attacks. However, in the article Castro calls the killing of bin Laden an "execution" by U.S. Navy SEALs and says the attack and the subsequent burial at sea "show fear and insecurity, and turn him into a much more dangerous person."

The news come on the heels of the sentencing of a Chilean businessman in Cuban court, state news in Cuba reported Thursday. Max Marambio, whose company Rio Zaza made juices and milk, was once a close friend of Castro's. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being convicted in absentia of bribery and fraud. FULL STORY

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Filed under: Cuba • Fidel Castro
October 7th, 2010
02:10 PM ET

Nobel laureate once punched fellow author, paper says

In 1976, writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, left, caught a punch to the eye from Mario Vargas Llosa. Both men have Nobel prizes for their literary works.

[Update 2:10 p.m.] The "cuentas iguales" tweet attributed to Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a hoax.

Gina Sosa of Garcia Marquez's Iberoamerican New Journalism Foundation says the famed author does not have a Twitter account. She referred CNN to the foundation's Twitter account, where Director Jaime Abello explained the account in question belongs to either imitators or the author's followers.

The Twitter account greets visitors with a smiling photo of Garcia Marquez and proclaims in its bio, "I am Gabo, writer and journalist," using Garcia Marquez's sobriquet. The tweets, which began in 2007, are in first person as if they are from the author. They include book promotions, pontifications on the state of journalism and links to articles at Garcia Marquez’s foundation.

The account has more than 132,000 followers, as opposed to about 7,000 at the foundation's account.

CNN and several other media outlets, including BBC and The Associated Press,  reported news of the seemingly conciliatory tweet, so the hoaxster - whoever he or she is - duped a few of journalism's big dogs.

[Updated 12:17 p.m.] It is a tale of literary rivals, romantic intrigue, divergent politics, a black eye and a Nobel laureate taking to Twitter in what may be a fitting end to a 34-year saga.


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Filed under: Colombia • Fidel Castro • Nobel • Peru
September 3rd, 2010
09:53 AM ET

Castro warns of nuclear danger

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro led his first open-air rally Friday since a near-death illness four years ago, urging thousands of students packed on the steps at the University of Havana entrance to help prevent a nuclear war.

"I thank you all for your presence and moral support in this fight for peace," Castro said at the end of his 44-minute speech. "I exhort you to not abandon this battle. As in past fights, we can win."

After four years of virtual seclusion, Castro re-emerged in public in July, but mostly in small, tightly controlled events. He has visited an economic think tank, an aquarium and given a shorter speech to the National Assembly.


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Filed under: Cuba • Fidel Castro • World
August 7th, 2010
11:16 AM ET

Fidel Castro addresses assembly

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro addressed a special session of the National Assembly for the first time in four years Saturday.

Castro had kept out of sight while he recuperated from a life-threatening intestinal illness that required several surgeries.

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Filed under: Cuba • Fidel Castro • World
July 10th, 2010
07:35 PM ET

Pro-Cuban blog posts what it says are new images of Castro

Images appearing to show former Cuban President Fidel Castro surfaced Saturday on a pro-government blog, which claims the photos were taken Wednesday.

The photos apparently show the 83-year-old ailing Castro meeting with people during "a surprise visit" at the National Center of Scientific Investigations in Havana, according to a blog published by columnist Rosa C. Baez.

The Cuban government was not immediately available to comment on the authenticity of the photos, and CNN's attempts to reach the Havana-based blogger were unsuccessful.

It would be the first public appearance made by the former Cuban leader since he stepped down from power in 2006 to undergo intestinal surgery.

Raul Castro was formally elected president in 2008.

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Filed under: Cuba • Fidel Castro