M A I N   N E W S

Castro says he is better

Havana, August 13
A Cuban newspaper today published the first photographs of Fidel Castro since his stomach surgery and the Cuban leader said he had stabilised ‘’considerably’’ but was not out of the woods.

He sent a message to Cubans on his 80th birthday that was published by youth daily Juventud Rebelde with four waist-up photographs of him wearing a sweat suit and speaking on the telephone, apparently sitting in a chair.

Castro had not appeared in public since ceding power to his younger brother Raul Castro on July 31 after undergoing an operation to stop intestinal bleeding.

One photograph showed Castro holding a supplement on him printed yesterday by the Communist Party newspaper Granma, an apparent move to show that the pictures were current.

“To say the stability has improved considerably is not to tell a lie. To say that the period of recovery will be short and there is now no risk, will be absolutely incorrect,” Castro said in the message posted on the newspaper’s website.

“I suggest you be optimistic and at the same time always prepared to receive bad news,” he said.

“The country is running well and will continue to do so,” the man who had led Cuba for 47 years assured his people.

Details of Castro’s health were being considered a state secret, so there had been little information about his condition or even confirmation that he was alive.

While Castro’s condition appeared to be stable, it was not known whether he would be able to resume his government duties.

Cuban officials had said the workaholic Castro, whose intestinal bleeding was caused by overexertion, would have to lessen his workload if he was to recover. — Reuters





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