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Posted September 12, 2007 by publisher in Castro's Cuba

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Two senior Cuban officials said on Wednesday that Cuban leader Fidel Castro, absent from public view for more than a year, is recovering from an intestinal problem that required several operations.

Cuban Culture Minister Abel Prieto said Castro was not at death’s door and dismissed rumors in Miami of his demise as “wishful thinking” by exiled opponents.

Prieto said he had no inside information on Castro’s medical condition, but deduced from the 81-year-old leader’s regular essays and columns that he is not dying.

“Nobody who was agonizing could be doing these analyses and reflections about day-to-day reality,” he told reporters. “He is aware of everything that happens, he is reading the wires, he is analyzing and evaluating.”

The speaker of Cuba’s National Assembly, Ricardo Alarcon, told CNN that Castro’s recovery was “going well” although he had not been in touch with him personally for more than a week.

“He suffered an intestinal accident, from which he is recovering after several operations,” Alarcon said on CNN.

Alarcon said Cuba was calm without Castro at the helm, while the convalescing leader had plenty of time to read and write, as evidenced by the 4,256-word essay published by the Communist Party daily Granma on Wednesday.

In it, Castro claimed the U.S. government had misinformed Americans and the world about Sept 11, echoing conspiracy theories about the attacks six years ago with hijacked planes.

Castro has not appeared in public since emergency bowel surgery forced him to hand over power to his brother Raul Castro in July 2006, relinquishing control for the first time since his 1959 revolution. Details of Castro’s health have not leaked from his water-tight inner circle.

Cubans last saw him in a pre-taped television interview broadcast on June 5 in which he appeared to be stronger.

Since March, Castro has reasserted his presence in Cuba through newspaper columns also read out fully on the country’s state-controlled radio and television.

His prolonged absence has fueled death rumors in Miami, a bastion of anti-Castro sentiment among the large Cuban emigre community, which eagerly awaits the demise of a man they see as a tyrant who turned their homeland into a communist state.

“I think they are people who confound their wishes with reality, they are obsessed with this,” Prieto said.

While Cuban officials say Castro is on the mend, they have stopped insisting that he will return to office.

Prieto, Cuba’s only long-haired minister and a member of the Communist Party’s powerful executive Politburo, said he was convinced an “overwhelming majority” of Cubans want Castro to continue leading Cuba as president of the Council of State.

The National Assembly must elect the 31-member Council of State at the start of its next session in March. Any changes to its leadership would take place at that time.

(Additional reporting by Esteban Israel)

  1. Follow up post #1 added on September 12, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    This is insulting to most people’s intelligence. Sure, I guess I am biased because I just don’t think Fidel Castro is doing fine.

    And, the way some of these quotes are worded make me wonder even more.

    Prieto said Castro is not at death’s door but that he has no inside information? Ahh, he’s the culture minister so he would probably be one of the HIGHEST insiders.

    So, I like the way he leaves himself open just in case Fidel’s death is announced.

    Same with Alarcon, he says that Castro’s recovery is going well but that he hasn’t seen Castro for a week.

    Also, I find it odd that they quote the rumors in Miami which will have been three weeks ago this coming Friday.

    So, here’s the options:

    1. These guys are telling the truth and Fidel Castro is alive and well because he is writing his Reflections.

    2. They have no idea what is going on with Fidel and it’s their job to tell people that everything is okay.

    3. They are lying and/or preparing for some announcement.

    I’m pretty confident that #2 or #3 is more accurate than #1.

    Will these guys be on the plane with Raul after the big announcement?

    Cuba consulting services

  2. Follow up post #2 added on September 13, 2007 by Cuban American

    I think there reasoning is pretty hilarious, they say he is doing fine because “how can someone who is ill and in his final days be writing reflections on international affairs”

    it just baffles me that they would think everyone is going to buy this stuff

  3. Follow up post #3 added on September 13, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    The Cuban government is coming undone. I doubt Raul has the vision and ability to manage all the propaganda so maybe everybody is just doing their own thing and one statement makes another look even worse.

    Cuba consulting services

  4. Follow up post #4 added on September 20, 2007 by HavanAndrew with 87 total posts

    It all sounds like things are unravelling at the seams, the top of the system is in trouble. However, the problem is that underneath all of this is a system with a powerful grip on the people. The vaudevillian atmosphere at the top of many governments have serious consequences on “The People”. It may seem cynical of me to state the obvious, Cuba does not have a copyright on the ridiculous in the league of nations. As far as dismissing Fidel’s writings as just crazy ramblings, I would suggest we all cautiously delay the verdict. In the sixties, western media dismissed Fidel as a fringe lunatic in relationship to many topics including the extent of manipulation by the C.I.A. in the world. I won’t get into all of the specifics, but the media believed the C.I.A. and Washington, not Fidel. Fast forward forty years and the documents were released by the C.I.A. and guess what? Fidel was proven right.

    My hope is that the the people of Cuba will fix their system as much as I wish that Americans fix their system. Many Americans could tell me to unstick my nose into their affairs, maybe this is what we all should do with Cuba. I can only pray that things work out for my wonderful friends in Cuba.

  5. Follow up post #5 added on September 20, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Good post. Well put.

    Cuba consulting services

  6. Follow up post #6 added on September 22, 2007 by abh

    There needs to be a push within the U.S. to re-evaluate international relations.  It is just not feaseable to continue pursuing such an aggressive policy with every country. 

    I still feel the need to say that I see no signs of the Cuban government “coming undone”.

  7. Follow up post #7 added on September 23, 2007 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    dont think you’ll see any significant change until bush is gone from office.

  8. Follow up post #8 added on February 20, 2008 by Patricio Puentes

    Fidel is very sick but alive. He is well enough to write, watch TV and talk on the phone to his friend Hugo. I believe he will die this year and his half brother Raul will make some changes, possibly releasing political prisoners and instituting some kind of capitalism along the lines of China’s.

    Will Cuba be free right away? I doubt it unless the military overthrows the government, which I don’t see happening, but stranger things have happened. The sooner Fidel dies the sooner positive things will happen for Cuba and the Cuban people. Cuba needs capitalism and with capitalism freedom will surely follow.

  9. Follow up post #9 added on February 20, 2008 by HavanAndrew

    This is being posted from Alta Gracia, Argentina, the childhood home of Che. The last public apppearence of Fidel Castro in public, unveiling the Che museum along with his buddy Chavez. The locals have a funny thing to say about the sickness of Fidel. They make a cheap version of chorizo that the drunk partiers have after a long, long night of partying. The local lore has it that the sausage was of dubious quality and in the case of Fidel, he had one of the worst chorizos here. So with quiet pride, they claim that someone here succeeded where the CIA did not. On a more serious note, it appears that Chavez is doing quite a bit of bribing and other underhanded tactics. He was caught with $800,000 in a brief case for a bribe for the president of Argentina. The customs officer that forced the issue is now in assylum in the United States. Also, the American ambassador has had closed door sessions with her, the tone and nature of the meetings remain a secret. Chavez is also at work with all Latin Anerican countries to form a strong cohesive bizzare socialist South America. I am willing to guess that the man playing quarterback is, you guessed it, Fidel. This is Fidel´s last stand. Love him or hate him, he is one brilliant chess player.

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