Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Cuba's Fidel Castro are socialist brothers-in-arms, so the fact that Castro didn't issue a public congratulations to Chavez on his win in Sunday's election raised some eyebrows. Twitter took off with rumors of the dictator's death, while others theorize that Castro's health is failing and he's suffering dementia.
The Havana Times published a short news item noting that Castro did not offer a congratulatory message to Chavez, instead leaving the duties to his brother Raul.
"Such silence is beginning to provoke speculation on Fidel's health," read the story. "The Cuban media has remained silent."
Then there was a Spanish-language blog post on Alberto Muller's website that claimed, "According to sources close to his family, for months Fidel Castro's dementia has gradually been getting worse, to the point that it no longer meets with leaders and cultural figures."
Rumors of his death and dementia spread on Twitter last night.
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Castro has kept a low profile for month. Back in June he published a series of absolutely bizarre columns in state newspapers. A new column has not appeared since June 20.
At 86, rumors of Fidel's failing health and even death are nothing new, but if his last columns are any indication, it doesn't appear likely that Castro is in the sharpest mental state.