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Castro and Chavez working on a book?

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L: Ariana Cubillos/AP R: Desmond Boylan/Reuters

(Read caption) Hugo Chavez (l.) and Fidel Castro (r.) are reported to be crafting a book together.

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From controversial Communist leader to introspective bestselling author?

If recent rumors are true, then former Cuban leader Fidel Castro is the master of career transitions. Not only is the ailing octogenarian alive, asserted a Cuban pro-government blogger, he’s working on a new book – with Hugo Chavez.

Blogger Yohandry Fontana first broke the news, reported by Reuters, in a somewhat cryptic post. “Fidel Castro works together with Hugo Chavez on a book that will appear soon,” Fontana wrote, responding to rumors of Castro’s death. No additional details were provided about the supposedly forthcoming book.

Castro, who turned 86 on August 13, has been seriously ill and out of the public eye for months, raising speculation that the former Cuban leader was close to death. Due to his age and ill health, Castro resigned the presidency in February 2008 and was succeeded by his brother, Raul Castro. He hasn’t been seen in public since March 28, when he visited the Vatican embassy in Havana to meet with Pope Benedict during his visit to Cuba, and was last heard from on June 19 when he wrote the last of a series of columns published in Cuban state papers, Reuters reported.

“He has occasionally fallen out of view for extended periods since then, always provoking speculation about his health, but reappeared each time saying he was working on a book or conducting research,” Reuters wrote. And indeed, Castro has worked on several books since his retirement.

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