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Fidel Castro grants interview and breaks silence

Castro grants an interview and has his photograph published.

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Former Bay of Pigs veteran Guillermo Alvarez gestures at the place where Fidel Castro had his command post during the invasion 50 years ago, on April 17, 2011 near the Bay of Pigs, in the Matanzas province, Cuba. (Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images)

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, 85, broke his silence by granting an interview to a Venezuelan television station, the Associated Press reported Thursday. The interview is the first he has given since rumors began spreading that he could be deathly ill.

The interview, which was reportedly held in Havana, has not aired yet.

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A state-run website, Cubadebate, also published photographs Thursday of Fidel being interviewed on Venezolana de Television. In the photographs, the former leader wears a white Windbreaker and green pants. He looks relatively healthy. The photographs of Castro appeared to be taken in his home in Havana, Reuters reports.

"I hate to inform those who are enjoying themselves by believing that Commandante Fidel has had a stroke that he is alive and kicking," the Venezuelan journalist who conducted the interview, Mario Silva, reportedly said.

The program Silva reports for supports Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. His network said that it will broadcast the interview with Castro as "proof of his perfect state of health," CNN reports.

The last time Castro appeared in public was at a Communist Party Summit in April, AP states. He has mostly stopped writing his opinion pieces and did not release a statement on his birthday. His lack of public appearances led to rumors that he was close to death or even dead.

Castro did appear in videos in July. The videos showed Castro with Chavez, who had recently received treatment for cancer.

Castro was the leader of Cuba's 1959 revolution and then ran the country for nearly half a century.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/cuba/110908/fidel-castro-interview-photographs