Cuba's former leader Fidel Castro is still in good health and working on a new book with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, an official blogger said in Havana Wednesday.
The state-run Yohandry's Weblog denied recent Internet rumors Castro was dead or in poor health, which have been fueled by the fact the father of Cuba's revolution has remained out of the public eye for months
Besides, though Yohandry did not name its source, it did say Castro was also "following Ecuador's stance in the Julian Assange affair, in addition to other national and international issues that interest him.
It was the first official news in a while on Castro, who turned 86 on August 13
For decades, Castro's birthday was marked with festive public celebrations and expansive coverage in newspapers, so this year's more muted publications of congratulatory messages from world leaders and low-key cultural events raised suspicions the retired leader was ailing.
Castro ruled Cuba for 48 years from 1959 to 2006 after a two-year guerrilla war to oust dictator Fulgencio Batista.
In June 2006, a serious intestinal disease forced him to hand over power to his younger brother Raul Castro, who has launched major reforms to lift the country out of its decades-old economic crisis.
In retirment, Castro has dedicated himself to writing several books, including his memoirs, as well as articles on international affairs.
Yohandry's blog is well known among Cubans in Cuba and those living abroad as a source of government news.