State media on Wednesday responded at last to the rumor floating around since Monday that former Cuban leader Fidel Castro had died. An article on the state-run Cubadebate Web site said that the rumor is just that — a rumor.
The article accused Twitter of spreading the story by allowing Castro’s name to become a trending topic on the site, even becoming fourth-most popular in the world at one point Monday night. It dubbed anti-Castro expatriates who had believed the story “necrophiliac counterrevolutionaries.”
The article also singled out a Twitter account holder named Naroh, which it described as Italian and now-defunct, as having started the rumor. The holder of @Naroh, however, appears to be neither Italian nor defunct, but rather Madrid-based, Spanish-speaking and quite active on Twitter.
Naroh, 20, who states his real name on Twitter as David Fernandez, tweeted Wednesday shortly after the publication of AP’s story: “Cuba blames me in a statement as starting the rumor about the death of Fidel Castro.” Naroh then expressed puzzlement as to why.
A Twitter search of Fernandez’s past tweets shows that he had simply retweeted several other people Monday who had tweeted about Castro’s death. He did not appear to have started any of the conversation around Castro’s death.
There was no immediate response from Twitter to the Cubadebate story. The social network is often rife with rumors of the death of public figures.
Castro, 85, handed power over to his brother Raul in 2006 during a serious illness. While he occasionally publishes columns, there is widespread doubt about whether the former leader is still alive. In August, a similar rumor about Castro’s death spread across the Internet, along with a doctored photograph of the former leader supposedly lying in a coffin.
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