Social media around the world have been flooded with rumors of Fidel Castro’s death, but there was no sign Friday that the reports were true, even if the 88-year-old former Cuban leader has not been seen in public for months.
Similar speculation has swept across Cuban expatriate communities repeatedly over the decades, particularly after a serious illness forced him to step down from duties as president in 2006, handing over leadership to his younger brother Raul.
The new wave was prompted in part by Fidel Castro’s failure to comment after the U.S. and Cuba declared on Dec. 17 that they would move to restore full diplomatic relations broken a half century ago.
The chatter appeared to pick up when some media noted Thursday that Castro had not been seen in public in a year. He last appeared on Jan. 8, 2014, at an art exhibition in Havana, ending nine months out of public view.