Published: Sunday, August 19, 2007
CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Sunday Fidel Castro is "writing, and producing," denying rumors circulating on the Internet that the Cuban leader had died.
Chavez, a close ally of Castro, has frequently provided information about the health of the ailing Communist leader who temporarily stepped aside after undergoing emergency abdominal surgery a year ago.
"On the Internet rumors are circulating that Fidel Castro has died," Chavez said during his weekly Sunday broadcast. "Fidel is producing, he is writing."
Chavez said he had spoken to Castro on his 81st birthday on Monday.
Rumors had surfaced on Friday that Castro had died from complications resulting from his surgery.
Venezuela sends close to 100,000 barrels per day of oil and fuel to the Caribbean island in exchange for the services of doctors and other professionals as part of a cooperation accord.