Raul Castro's daughter says Fidel is recovering well

Campaign News | Monday, 19 February 2007

'He is stupendous' says Mariela Castro

HAVANA: A daughter of acting President Raul Castro said Sunday that her uncle Fidel is recovering "very well" from surgery and would likely again be "present and very active" in Cuba's government.

"Fidel is stupendous," said Mariela Castro Espin, who attended the dedication of a book of collected speeches and interviews by her mother Vilma Espin, a veteran of the revolution led by Castro and head of the Federation of Cuban Women.

Raul Castro took over as acting president in July after his brother Fidel underwent surgery and disappeared from public view, aside from occasional videotaped meetings with foreign visitors.

The most recent showed a Jan. 29 meeting with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in which the Cuban leader seemed noticeably stronger and less haggard than in earlier images.

The videotape eased speculation fed by a Jan. 16 report in the Spanish newspaper El Pais that described him as being in "very grave" condition after three failed operations. Cuban officials have not given details of his illness.


Fidel's son predicts his father's recovery

From the Irish Times newspaper

The son of ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro said today he expected his father to recover completely from surgery that forced him to relinquish power in July.

"We believe that little by little comrade Fidel will see the total recovery that all Cuban people and revolutionaries the world over hope for," said Fidel Castro Diaz Balart.

Castro , 80 and in power since 1959, handed over power temporarily to his brother, Defense Minister Raul Castro , July 31 after he underwent emergency stomach surgery. He has not appeared in public since, fueling uncertainty about the future of the hemisphere's only communist state.

A video clip released two weeks ago showed Castro has put on weight but remains frail.

Speaking at the annual Havana book fair, the junior Castro repeated recent upbeat assessments of his father's health, including one last week by his uncle and acting president, Raul, that Fidel Castro is gradually but steadily recovering.

"That is the same perception that I have," said the 57-year-old Soviet-trained nuclear physicist and eldest of Castro 's seven children, who is known in Cuba as "Fidelito."

Little has been said about Castro 's illness but he is thought to have suffered from diverticulitis, or inflamed bulges in the large intestine, and had complications during surgery.

Many observers believe Castro , who was the last of the major Cold War players still in power, will not be strong enough to resume a full leadership role.

National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcon said on Tuesday that Fidel Castro is recovering "very well" but gave no indication when, or if, the ailing leader might return to public life.

A week ago, Raul Castro , 75, said his brother was getting better by the day, doing exercise and speaking frequently on the telephone to his aides.

"He is consulted on the most important matters. He does not interfere with anything, but he is up to date on everything," Raul told reporters at the opening of the book fair.

Castro 's condition is a tightly guarded state secret. His illness was officially attributed to the "extreme stress" of his workload.

Cuba watchers say Castro 's reassuring backstage presence will help his successors consolidate a political succession that would maintain the one-party state.


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