Fidel Castro Reportedly Made Public Appearance at Havana's Hotel National

Wow, what opportune timing.

After weeks of the rumor mill churning out reports of Fidel Castro's ailing health, the retired Cuban dictator has reportedly made an appearance at Havana's famed National Hotel and talked to hotel workers for about half an hour.

Former Venezuelan Vice President Elias Jaua, who served under Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez until this year, told the Associated Press that he was accompanied to Havana's famed Hotel National by Castro yesterday:

"He had the courtesy of bringing me to the hotel," Jaua said Sunday, adding that Castro looked "very well."

Jaua showed a photograph of himself seated in a minibus along with the former Cuban leader, Castro's wife, Dalia Soto del Valle, a hotel executive and several other people. The photo shows Jaua and Castro smiling broadly, and the former Cuban leader is wearing a checked shirt and cowboy hat.

That photo however was not made public.

The AP confirms that a top hotel worker said Castro was spotted at the hotel, and stayed after dropping off Jaua to talk to hotel staff for about 30 minutes. The hotel exec said that Fidel's health is "magnificent."

The reports come after weeks of rumors that Castro's health is declining.

Castro has not penned a public column in a state-operated newspaper since June, and his last columns were best described as bizarre and rambling.

Rumors of his failing health intensified when he failed to offer a public congratulations to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on his reelection. A Spanish newspaper, relying on questionable sources, reported that Castro had suffered a stroke and an aneurysm. In response, the Cuban government claimed that Castro released a letter supposedly penned by Castro congratulating recent Med School graduates.

Regardless, the latest news from with inside Cuba certainly doesn't seem coincidental. Those following rumors of Castro's health for the past few years certainly aren't unfamiliar with rumblings of his imminent demise followed by Cuban officials and allies offering reports that downplay rumors of his ill-health.

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