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Posted June 03, 2007 by publisher in Castro's Cuba

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Reuters | Anthony Boadle

Fidel Castro appeared more vigorous on Sunday in the first television images of the Cuban leader to be broadcast in Cuba in four months, adding weight to reports that he has put his health crisis behind him.

Castro appeared talking animatedly, standing in a track suit during a meeting on Saturday afternoon with Vietnamese Communist Party chief Nong Duc Manh.

Castro, 80, has not appeared in public since emergency bowel surgery forced him to hand over power 10 months ago to his brother Raul Castro for the first time since coming to power in a 1959 revolution.

But he looked healthier and more alert than in the last video images shown of him in Cuba on Jan. 30 during a visit by his leftist ally Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

He hugged Manh warmly at the end of the two-hour meeting.

“Vietnam is a country that we will never forget,” said Castro, who visited Hanoi in 1973 in the midst of the Vietnam war with the United States.

Manh said Castro spoke at length about Cuba’s “energy revolution” to save electricity, and they discussed the situation in Latin America.

“He was very happy. I was overcome with emotion. He spoke about many things. They were very deep,” Manh said later at a meeting with Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage.

A senior Cuban official said on Friday that Castro had almost recovered fully from several operations for an undisclosed intestinal condition that put his life at risk last year. But National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcon, speaking to CNN, gave no indication of when or if Castro might return to governing Cuba.

Castro bounced back into public life from his convalescence quarters two months ago by writing regular columns on world issues with virulent attacks on his ideological foe, U.S. President George W. Bush.

A Bush administration official said on Saturday that the United States will have to wait until Castro dies to see political change in his communist-ruled Caribbean island.

“He (Castro) has tilted Cuba toward the failed model that exists today, and we’ll have to wait and see if the future is better when he is no longer around,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez told Reuters in an interview.

His comments appeared to mark a dramatic shift from just a few months ago, when Gutierrez said Cuba was at a “critical juncture” in its history and poised for change.

Castro, the last major player of the Cold War still around, has survived the hostility of 10 U.S. presidents.

Gutierrez, a Cuban-American, acknowledged that Bush may leave office without seeing the changes his administration has pushed for in Cuba by tightening sanctions enforced since 1962 against Castro’s government.

(Additional reporting by Tom Brown in Miami)

  1. Follow up post #1 added on June 03, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Video doesn’t lie. I have to say I am surprised. Sure absent President Fidel Castro looks okay and a two hour meeting is impressive in his condition.

    Still, it doesn’t not give me any reason to believe that he will come out in public any time soon.

    I read this event as a reason to keep the current status quo of Raul’s government. Raul can’t really make any moves while Fidel is still breathing.

    I would have like to have heard some dialog to assess Fidel’s mental state. I’m guessing that he cannot speak well or sounds like a crazy old man when he talks.

    Apparently they couldn’t even produce a short photo op with audio for propaganda?

    If anyone sees a version with audio, please post it or send it along to the email in the footer.


    Cuba consulting services

  2. Follow up post #2 added on June 04, 2007 by Cuban American


    Just out of curiosity, I have seen you say “Raul can’t make any moves while Fidel is still breathing” quite a bit.  What makes you think that Raul will improve anything?  Personally I don’t see any reason to pursuade me that he will make positive changes on the island.

  3. Follow up post #3 added on June 04, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    There seems to be a consensus that Raul likes the Chinese economic model but it is my feeling that IF he does want to make economic reforms, he can’t until Fidel is gone and Raul is 100% in charge.

    You could be right. Raul might be a hard ass but I think there is a “hype” of expectations for Raul to open the economy and if he doesn’t then we could see some chaos.

    Funny that me, you, Bush, Brian Latell, Jamie Shucklicki or anyone else can say with any certainty what Cuba will be like after Fidel dies.

    Stay tuned to the Havana Journal because we (me and you and all the visitors and people who leave comments) will be watching the situation closely.

    Thanks for your post.

    Cuba consulting services

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