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Posted December 18, 2006 by publisher in Castro's Cuba

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By JULIA PRESTON | New York Times

Cuban officials told lawmakers from the United States House of Representatives visiting Havana yesterday that President Fidel Castro did not have cancer or any terminal illness and that he would be making a public appearance shortly, according to Rep. William Delahunt, one of the legislators.

But Mr. Delahunt, Democrat of Massachusetts, said he concluded from the delegation’s discussions with senior Cuban officials and diplomats that Mr. Castro would not return to running Cuba on a day-to-day basis.

Mr. Delahunt said he understood that government administration had been definitively passed to Mr. Castro’s brother, Ra�l. “The Cubans were emphatic, and I believe them, that Fidel does not have cancer, and that the illness he does have is not terminal,” Mr. Delahunt said in a telephone interview last night after he returned to Washington.

He said Cuban officials assured the delegation that Mr. Castro was planning to re-emerge shortly. Mr. Castro, 80, who has controlled Cuba since he took power after a revolution in 1959, has not been seen in public since July 26, and Cuba has guarded the details of his medical condition as a state secret. Cuban officials announced that he underwent intestinal surgery in late July. He did not appear at celebrations of his 80th birthday earlier this month, prompting a new rush of rumors that he had died.

If Mr. Castro re-appears, “this will not be Fidel sitting at his desk,” Mr. Delahunt said. “This will be Fidel Castro is alive and recovering.” He said he anticipated that if Mr. Castro did resume a political role, it would be setting broad policy. “The functioning of the government, that transition has already occurred,” he said.

The bipartisan delegation of 10 representatives, which Mr. Delahunt described as the largest Congressional delegation to visit Cuba during Mr. Castro’s rule, arrived Friday and spent 48 hours in Havana. It was led by Mr. Delahunt and Rep. Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, the leaders of the Cuba Working Group in the House.

The lawmakers met with the foreign minister, Felipe P�rez Roque, the National Assembly president, Ricardo Alarc�n, and Yadira Garc�a, an economic minister, among others.

They did not have any contact with Mr. Castro or meet with Ra�l Castro. The Communist Party newspaper reported Saturday that Fidel Castro had telephoned several Cuban lawmakers on Friday. He has also spoken recently to President Hugo Ch�vez of Venezuela, Mr. Ch�vez has said.

The Cuban officials did not disclose what illness Mr. Castro had, but they insisted he was recovering, and said he had avoided public appearances to hasten his recuperation, Mr. Delahunt said. Mr. Castro passed his political authority to his brother before his surgery.

“It seems that the Cuban government may not be ready to say that a new era has begun,” Mr. Flake said when asked why Ra�l Castro had not met with the lawmakers, The Associated Press reported from Havana.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on December 18, 2006 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    I thought they might get a meeting with Raul but I’m sure he has to play it cool, officially anyway. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was listening in but at least he was briefed on all the meetings.

    Anyway, good summary and good progress. VERY well done by Delahunt and Flake.

    Delahunt, Flake and Raul Castro. The men who opened Cuba.

    Cuba consulting services

  2. Follow up post #2 added on December 18, 2006 by J. Perez

    In my opinion, it is extremely important that all the parties do not allow this “warming up” to cool down. Keep the dialogue open and everything will work out in the end.

  3. Follow up post #3 added on December 19, 2006 by Varsi Padayachee

    At last instead of pig headed diplomacy, we have sanity prevailing in our r country. Cuba, with all its warts, is our neighbour. As some in our cuntry find the Cuban Political system abhorrent, they too find our system and often our rhetoric, pathetic. And so contiues the merry go round. We have had special envoys sent to N. Korea, chatted with Gaddafi in Libya, and we even were friends with Pinochet, Noriega, Taylor, Marcos, and our very own Saddham. So why have’nt we spoken to Cuba. Those in opposition to Fidel, often wax lyrical of the privileged life they enjoyed in Cuba, and nothing short of returning the Island to the days of yore will satisfy them. Sadly for them, the day is not on the horizon, but rather a day will come sooner, when dialogue will be the order of the day, soon to be followed by constructive change. The influence of open exchange will see many positive benefits, for both sides. It would be foolish to think that only Cuba will benefit from the so called influence of the US culture. It must be pointed out that the US has no culture per se. What it has is an amalgamation or hybrid that makes up our society’s tradition. Given this scenario, the Cuban Culture will feature very strongly, music will be everywhere, and the sciences, sport and literature will certainly bank a positive balance. Even US Businesses will get a share of the CUban Market, albeit won competetively, rather than the one sided FTA’s the US is so fond to dish out.
    It must be important to note that there is a definite shift in the political structure of Latin America, seemingly more towards a regional cohesion, rather than the neo-liberal policies of the IMF and the World Bank, with the able assistance of the US. GIven this paradigm shift, Cuba will certainly not be short of honest friendship. And importantly, the US standing in the World is diminishing by the day, given our disastrous performance in the Middle East.
    Kudos to the brave Congress Reps. who visited Cuba and Syria. Our country needs friendships, however, not the kind offered by Tony Blair or Aznar of Spain.

  4. Follow up post #4 added on December 20, 2006 by Pete Chavez

    To Varsi Padayachee,
    Are you natural to the United States?  Or where you born somewhere else and came here to live later in life?  Or better yet are you a foreigner that has never set foot in the United States?  Because your comments regarding the absence of culture in the United States really begs the question.  You’ve got a lot of nerve stating this, unless you are deaf and blind and living in the U.S. or never been here at all.  I really don’t know how you can assess our culture as “no culture here per se” but “an amalgantion or hybrid that makes up society’s traditions.”  I would never say that about any culture and I have been every where.  What nerve!!

  5. Follow up post #5 added on December 20, 2006 by Varsi Padayachee

    Pete Chavez, Free speech is a joy. I do not expect everyone to agree with me. However, it is my right to say what I want. Folks like you believe that being a patriot is being in lock step with the concensus. I beg to differ.
    As to my background, I was born in South Africa of East Indian parents, and have lived in the US for the last 30 years. And yes I am a CITIZEN, and not an undocumented foreigner. By your definition, I am still a foreigner, but have contributed amply to this country. Now as to your question..“Are you natural to the US? Not many are. Unless you are a member of the Native American Tribal system, you, too, are a FOREIGNER. I travel both within the US and internationally, on a regular basis, and my statement is based on my experiences. If, as you claim, that you have been everywhere, you must have spent an awful amount of your time either in Airport waiting room or cooped up in your hotel. Perhaps you can provide me with an educated definition of the US culture, and not such dish outs as baseball, hamburgers, hotdogs, oh! the best democracy and free speech.

  6. Follow up post #6 added on December 20, 2006 by Varsi Padayachee

    Oh Pete Chavez, Per Se means as such. Not concrete, not lacking, but as such!

  7. Follow up post #7 added on December 21, 2006 by Pete Chavez

    I am sure that your contribution is 1/10 of the benefits that you enjoy by being here?  Right?  Because you are here by choice, right?  And as for the rest of it, it’s not my job to educate you and frankly you are just too boorish to merit any further response.  And that is the joy of my free speech!

  8. Follow up post #8 added on December 21, 2006 by Varsi Padayachee

    Mr. Chavez. How did you come up with the brilliant deduction that I am boorish? Perhaps, your insecurity or your lack of a cogent, coherent and intelligent response. Or perhaps, you have npt defined what that culture is! As to the benefits, I came here with an excellent academic resume. I could have enjoyed the very same benefits anywhere, but I chose the US for reasons that are far too complex for your comprehension.
    As to culture, I deduce from your name that you are Hispanic, or perhaps of Hispanic Hertiage! So what culture, do you prescribe to?
    I am married to a Colombian, and I am absolutely in joy becasuse I can celebrate the Latin Culture, the Hindu Culture, and yes, I do love Christmas!

  9. Follow up post #9 added on December 21, 2006 by BERNIE

    Varsi: Go get that “Full moon clown” pee pee chavez?????

  10. Follow up post #10 added on December 21, 2006 by Pete Chavez

    to Varsi, Ha ha ha silly girl.  Now you are not boorish, your just getting funnier and funnier but you merit any further response even less now.

    to Bernie, yes I do all my reading and writing at night (I have a great career in the day time).  There is no obese shut-in, blogging all day living in this house.  And yes, I would agree that dialogueing with the likes of you two is clowning around.

  11. Follow up post #11 added on December 21, 2006 by Pete Chavez

    and thanks for the urine inspired nickname, BOREnie!

  12. Follow up post #12 added on December 21, 2006 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Okay folks. Ding. Ding. The round is over.

    I appreciate all the comments pro and con but I like to keep comments on topic.

    I do not seek winners and losers and great debators. Many people have many different opinions and many different ways of expressing those opinions.

    So, let’s end this thread and wait for the next big story to come up.

    Thanks for your cooperation.

    Cuba consulting services

  13. Follow up post #13 added on December 22, 2006 by Varsi Padayachee

    Publisher, As always your timely intervention certainly prevents some of the responses from sinking to something less than rather juvenile. However, I feel that while there is much disagreement in philosophy, understanding and perception, the essence of a good discourse is diminished by rather cave manish name calling. I do have of difference of opinions with many. However, our level of disagreement is civilized and allows us to continue to engage, whenever necessary, on an intelligent level.
    Best regards to all for the Holidays and a prosperous New Year.

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