Friday, February 23, 2018

Fidel Castro turns 86 behind closed doors

HAVANA — Cuba marked Fidel Castro's 86th birthday on Monday with congratulatory messages in state media but no planned appearance by the retired leader, who has faded from public view.

Communist Party newspaper Granma published memories of Castro from people familiar with him such as Cuban journalists and cohorts from the 1959 revolution. Government-run websites carried essays on his life and best wishes from Presidents Evo Morales of Bolivia and Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua.

The milestone was yet another reminder of both the Cuban leader's longevity and his inevitable mortality. He survived in power for nearly 50 years despite numerous attempts on his life and periodic rumors of his passing.

Castro last appeared in photos and video in March, looking jovial but thin. He left the presidency in 2008 after an illness.

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