It Looks Like Fidel Castro Is Still Kicking

Former Cuban president Fidel Castro attends the final session of the 6th Cuban Communist Party Congress, on April 19, 2011 at the Convention Palace in Havana.
Photo: Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images

A month and a half has passed since the United States and Cuba announced a plan to resume diplomatic relations, and Fidel Castro has finally weighed in on the matter. In a letter published by Cuba’s official Communist Party newspaper, Castro (who, after ruling the island for 49 years, put his younger brother Raul in charge in 2008) wrote, “I shall explain my essential position in a few words. I do not trust the politics of the United States, nor have I exchanged a word with them, but this is not, in any way, a rejection of a peaceful solution to conflicts.” 

Here are the important parts: “Any peaceful or negotiated solution to the problems between the United States and the peoples or any people of Latin America that doesn’t imply force or the use of force should be treated in accordance with international norms and principles,” Castro said. “We will always defend cooperation and friendship with all the peoples of the world, among them our political adversaries.” He also communicated that Raul is running the show: “The president of Cuba has taken the pertinent steps in accordance with his prerogatives and the powers given to him by the National Assembly the Communist Party of Cuba.”

Along with a January 12 note he sent to an Argentine soccer player, Castro’s missive suggests that he is not dead, as was widely rumored when he failed to comment in the immediate wake of the détente. You can’t blame people for wondering: The 88-year-old is said to be in poor health, and he hasn’t been seen in public for a year. Of course, some have doubts about whether Fidel actually wrote his latest proof-of-life, but, at least for now, it seems that he’s still on track to outlive an 11th American presidential administration since he rose to power in 1959.