http://havanajournal.com/politics/entry/fidel-castro-talks-with-hugo-chavez-by-phone-for-one-half-hour/

HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

Fidel Castro talks with Hugo Chavez by phone for one half hour

Posted February 27, 2007 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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AP

Cuban leader Fidel Castro called in to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s radio talk show on Tuesday, declaring he’s “more energetic, stronger” and his country is running smoothly without him at the helm.

“I feel good and I’m happy,” Castro said in a phone call to Chavez’s weekday radio program. “I can’t promise that I’ll go over there soon, but, yes, I’m gaining ground.”

The 80-year-old Castro transferred control of Cuba’s government to his brother Raul after undergoing intestinal surgery in July and dropped out of public view, fueling speculation about his condition.

He thanked Chavez for spreading news about his recuperation and complained that his supporters have “the habit, the vice of getting news daily.”

“But I ask for patience, calm ... the country is marching along, which is what is important,” Castro said in a soft but steady voice.

“And I ask for tranquility also for me so that I can fulfill my new tasks,” he said.

In Havana, Cuban state television’s nightly Roundtable program reported briefly on the telephone exchange and bits of the conversation were broadcast across the island.

During the half-year since Castro announced he had undergone intestinal surgery, the communist-led country has been governed by his brother Raul and a team of top leaders that includes Cuban Vice President and Cabinet Secretary Carlos Lage.

“You don’t know how happy we are to hear your voice and know that you’re well,” Chavez said with obvious surprise in his voice at the unexpected call.

The two leaders, who are close friends and allies, spoke for almost 30 minutes.

Cuba’s communist government has kept Castro’s condition and exact ailment secret, and Chavez acknowledged that he has become an “emissary” for news of his health.

On Jan. 30, Havana’s government released a new video of Castro looking stronger than in previous images as he met with Chavez, which quelled growing speculation that he was gravely ill.

The Cuban government has sought to reassure Cubans after intestinal surgery forced Castro to temporarily cede power for the first time in 47 years, saying his health is stable and the defense of the island guaranteed.

Chavez ended his conversation with his mentor telling him: “We will win time and win the battle for life.”

“Fatherland or death. We will prevail!,” the two leaders repeated after each other.

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Member Comments

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On February 28, 2007, publisher wrote:

I can’t help but see this as total disrespect for the Cuban people. They care about Fidel and I’m sure would like to hear comments from Fidel directly to them but what does Castro do, he goes on a radio show on in a different country to tell everyone that he is fine.

I think this is just one more little straw on the Camel’s back. People survived under Fidel because he always reassured them that he would take care of them. Now he’s out of the picture and disrespecting them?

If Raul doesn’t do something BIG for the Cuban people in the near future I think they will say enough is enough. I know they haven’t “said” anything collectively before but one can only sprint to the finish line for so long.

So, if nothing changes soon I see complete despair where people just don’t even bother to go to work and the country collapses that way or perhaps some isolated uprising that is brutally put down by the Raul Castro government that gets out of hand and news spreads on Radio Bemba that leads to more and/or bigger uprisings.

The clock is ticking for Fidel and Raul. I’m not saying that the country will explode but people will only put up with so much bullshit when they know that SOME SORT of change is coming.

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On March 01, 2007, Pete Chavez wrote:

Dear Publisher,
I am glad that you are begining to see them for what they really are and also glad that you are begining to see what they are doing which is what to us they have always been done!

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On March 01, 2007, publisher wrote:

I guess you’re right. Maybe Castro went on foreign radio to show the world that he really is doing well where if he called into Mesa Redonda it may not seem as legit?

Still, seems like a big “screw you” from Fidel Castro to the Cuban people, almost disrespectful on purpose.

If that is the case, I think the Cuban people are tired of Fidel and if Raul doesn’t loosen things up a bit, something has to give way.