Cuban President Fidel Castro skipped a military parade in his honor last week, sparking new speculation that he is near death. The parade marked the 50th anniversary of Castro’s return from exile to lead the communist revolution. Castro, 80, underwent stomach surgery in August and has not been seen publicly since October. Cuba isn’t the only Latin American nation bracing for the death of a longtime leader. In Chile, former President Augusto Pinochet, 91, underwent emergency surgery following a massive heart attack. Pinochet’s health problems touched off a debate over plans for his funeral. Supporters want a state ceremony, but democracy advocates say Pinochet should be shunned because of human-rights violations committed during his rule.
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