With there being no sighting of Fidel Castro since last August, speculations circulated that the Cuban leader was dead. However, after a long hiatus, a recent photograph of 88-year-old Castro wearing a blue athletic jacket was seen in official media this past Monday, squelching rumors.

In the photograph, Castro is seated and slightly hunched over. While he may not appear to be in perfect health, he is very much alive. Speculation about Cuban’s leader being dead intensified following the historic announcement on December 17 that his younger brother and current country president, Raul Castro, would restore diplomatic ties with the United States, two countries that have long been adversaries.

After the announcement was made, Castro’s periodic column writing ceased. However, roughly one week ago, he again took pen to paper, expressing only slight support of his brother and the pact he made with US President Barack Obama.

In the photograph that just surfaced on the website Granma, of the Communist Party newspaper, Castro is clearly seen with Randy Perdomo, a student leader. According to Cuban officials, the photo was snapped on January 23. In fact, there were a total of 21 pictures of Castro and Perdomo together. In the photographs, the men were carrying on conversation, going through a newspaper, and looking at some video.

While Fidel Castro’s overall health remains unknown, according to a theologian from Brazil who had a meeting with the leader last week, he is actually in really good health and while skinny, his mind is completely lucid.

His absence from the public eye was spurred because he stepped down from power in 2006 because of health issues. At that time, his brother took over presidential responsibilities but then in 2008, became the official new leader of Cuba. Officials stated that while Castro has not been seen publically for some time, he does have visitors on a regular basis.