Fidel Castro
5:59 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

Fidel Castro Death Rumors Are A Familiar Story

Social media has been abuzz today with rumors that Fidel Castro might be dead. As The Miami Herald reports:

Rumors of the retired leader’s alleged passing had been circulating online since Sunday, when Castro did not congratulate Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez on winning reelection.

However, like most of Miami, we're skeptical when we hear these rumors. Because we've heard them before--many, many, many times. As one newsroom editor said, "Hasn't he died, like, 20 times?"

It seems like every couple of years (and even more frequently, lately) rumors surface that the now-86-year-old former Cuban leader has died.

Looking through The Herald's archives, the paper alone has reported on Castr0-death-rumors at least six times since 1986. Here is a rundown of headlines and dates:

  • FIDEL CASTRO SILENCE SPARKS SPECULATION, 9/3/2011.
  • RUMORS OF CASTRO'S DEATH PERSIST, EXCEPT IN CUBA, 9/1/2007.  
  • RUMORS OF CASTRO'S DEATH CREATES BUZZ, 1/17/2004. 
  • RUMOR HAS IT . . . BUT CASTRO ISN'T DEAD, 8/28/1997.
  • CASTRO FALSE ALARM? LATEST RUMOR DENIED MEXICANS SAY THEY SAW HIM, 4/22/1994.
  • CASTRO DEAD? FALSE RUMOR SNOWBALLS IN CUBAN MIAMI, 1/8/1986.

What makes the 2012 iteration of this rumor unique is Twitter, the perfect rumor machine. The Multi-American blog out of California pulled together this nifty anatomy of a Twitter meme.